The Federal Government on Tuesday said it was disappointed by the delay in the completion of the new terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, due to the absence of electricity and other challenges.
The government stated that the airport was meant to be completed before the end of last year, but this never happened and might not happen any time soon.
He said, “We had earlier said that we will be able to deliver this project by December 2017 and unfortunately, we are now in January and the project has not been delivered. So, we’ve come here to find out from the contractors and consultants what could be the hindrance.
“The quality of work is acceptable, the pace of work is not acceptable. This project should have been delivered earlier than now and the contractor has just been repeating what he said earlier about some of the challenges he’s been facing.”
Outlining some of the complaints raised by the contractor, Sirika added, “You have the problem of linking the new terminal and the old terminal; the problem here in Abuja of blocking the control tower, in which those in the control tower cannot see the other side of the airport and this is a safety issue.
“Also, you have the fire service blocking access to the terminal building, making it very difficult for aircraft to manoeuvre and to utilise the apron. And also, there is the inadequate nature of the apron itself and the absence of electricity to power the building. There is the issue of sewer and water, which are all part of the challenges.”
The minister faulted the initial procurement process for the airport, as he noted that the already built facility had distorted the master plan of the airport.
Sirika stated, “I am very disappointed that all of these problems were not factored in during the planning stage of this procurement. However, it is something that we are going to think of how to utilise it with all these shortcomings. For sure, a huge amount of procurement is needed to right the wrongs.
“To provide power, sewer, water, extra apron and move the control tower, fire service, as well as link the old and new terminals, etc., is a huge work. I’m not going to say we will deliver on a particular date, because the problem is huge and needs funding. You are aware that this procurement is a loan of about $500m from China and Nigeria’s counterpart funding was $100m.
“So, it’s a $600m procurement and from the initial numbers I’m getting on how to get to the end of this procurement, the numbers are in excess of $400m, which is additional. However, they (contractors) just told me that between now and March, they should be able to get some parts of the airport functional, but with a caveat that we should be able to deliver power, water, etc.”