FG to demolish Dominion, EAN hangars for MMIA aircraft parking space
Over one year after the opening of the new terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, the search for makeshift aircraft parking space is still on with the demolition of nearby Dominion and Evergreen Apples Nigeria (EAN) hangars now next in line.
The two facilities, worth over N5 billion, will now be relocated in “public interest”, and compensated for by the Federal Government. The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who made the disclosure in Lagos at the unveiling of new fire trucks, said the evacuation exercise is scheduled to hold in a fortnight.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2022, opened the Lagos Airport new international terminal, which was conceived and built under a $500 million loan deal between Nigeria and China in 2013.
The Guardian had reported that only Air Peace, Asky and African World Airline (AWA) currently have a presence in the terminal, which was ab initio, said to be wrongly sited. Other foreign airlines, especially the legacy carriers that fly wide body aircraft, still desert the ‘state-of-the-art’ facility over lack of parking space that is wide enough for safe operations.
To correct the structural flaw, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had issued eviction notices to hangars and structure occupants in close proximity to the MMIA’s new terminal, even as such action is expected to cost the government up to N10 billion in compensation.
For that purpose, the former headquarters and command and control centre of the Accident Investigation Bureau Nigeria (AIB-N) worth N5 billion has been pulled down. Next in line are Dominion, Evergreen Apples Nigeria (EAN) that have served eviction notices.
Apparently in response to judicial pushback by some of the affected private investments, Sirika said the demolition was inevitable in public interest. He said; “Those two hangars will have to go for our airport to be efficient. It is a $300 million investment over there.
They (hangars) cannot sit there in public interest. We have to shift them elsewhere.
“Yes, I know one of the owners, Demuren (Dr Harold Demuren). He is one of my leaders. I don’t know the other person (Bishop David Oyedepo and owner of Dominion hangar), but they have to go. You cannot deny the city of Lagos, and the country in general the use of that airport.
“We demolished the AIB-N building that belonged to us. So, there is no going back, these other ones will have to go and we will do that in one or two weeks.
“When we said we were going to demolish the (former) FAAN headquarters offices (in Lagos) to build shopping malls and hotels for 20 million people of Lagos, someone was talking rubbish. But the government is going to do it. What needs to be done in public interest will have to be done,” Sirika said.
Unveiled by the minister were 10 units of Lion Volkan 6×6 Major Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Vehicles (MFFV), estimated at the cost of N12 billion.
The high capacity vehicles will be deployed to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Yadudu, noted that in fostering safety and security of flight operations, the Federal Government has focused on the tripod of rehabilitation/upgrade of infrastructure, capacity building, and training/manpower development.
Yadudu added that comprehensive training programmes had been arranged for the users of the vehicles, and the mechanical department to ensure the vehicles are not only used as specified by the manufacturers but also maintained accordingly.
He also said that eight new water tankers for continuous agent applications, 11 ambulances, two brand new Response Commanders’ Vehicles, and Aircraft Removal and Recovery Equipment have also been procured and deployed to various airports.
While promising that the Authority would continue to prioritise safety and security at the nation’s airports, Yadudu charged the Air Rescue and Fire Fighting Department to make the best use of the new equipment.