Sirika justifies plan to demolish FAAN, NAMA offices for new airport city
Apparently in reaction to protests by stakeholders, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has justified the plan to demolish former headquarters of aviation agencies in Lagos for a new airport city project.
Sirika said the cleanup is in the best interest of the airport, and the new-found aerotropolis project would be done transparently.
The minister had earlier disclosed plans to pull down the former headquarters of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to pave the way for the proposed airport city. Aviation unions, however, fault the initiative, describing the timing as wrong and self-serving.
Sirika, who was miffed when asked the question in Lagos, said: “This chaos (Lagos airport structures) is what you want as an airport? Don’t you want a rail link between the old domestic and international terminals? Don’t you want somewhere, where there are cinemas, spars, shopping complex, malls, rest areas, banks, airline offices and befitting headquarters for Lagos?
“So, given the chance, I will demolish all the headquarters. In fact, I told someone I would demolish from Arik to Aero all the way to the police building and Bristow and build something befitting for Lagos,” he said.
Sirika, however, assured that the projects would not be done under the table. “This is an executive function, which we will tell stakeholders because they have a right to know. We will not do it under the table; I have not been known for that. If we want to demolish to make something better, nobody should stop us because we know it is for the good of the industry.
Reacting to concerns on timing and having the projects come up at the twilight of this administration, Sirika said government is a continuum, and it behooves his successor to complete outstanding projects.
He said: “When I came in as minister in 2015, I embarked on 154 projects. At least, 40 per cent of them were started by somebody and out of 154, I delivered 137. That is 87 per cent delivery rate and it’s on record.
“When we came, we met the Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano airports at 10 per cent. Others were less than 10 per cent, with lots of challenges, lack of foundation, lack of water supply in the plan. I wanted to abandon those projects and give them to the private sector to finish. But President Buhari said they should be finished; we did and handed over those projects 100 per cent.
“Therefore, insofar you put in place the mechanisms to ensure that whoever comes in will not reverse it, it will not go back. Be rest assured that we are going to put the mechanisms in place to ensure that whoever comes, even if he is my hater, will ensure those things happen. I’m challenging stakeholders, users, the press, the staff and the management of these agencies to pursue him (next minister) until they complete it,” he said.
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