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Osinbajo tours Lagos airport, orders quick fix of infrastructure


Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

Tasks small business owners on economy
Acting president Yemi Osinbajo yesterday paid an unscheduled visit to Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos, to inspect the state of infrastructure at the popular aerodrome.

The exercise, which caught even the minister of state for aviation and heads of regulatory bodies by surprise, lasted for about two hours with Osinbajo demanding explanations on equipment that were not working.

One after the other, Osinbajo scrutinised the departure and arrival halls, immigration stands, Immigration Visa on Arrival Lounge, escalator, carousel, airlines offices and some toilets.

The Guardian learnt that the Acting President and his team decided not to inform the concerned authorities ahead, to enable him see the true state of affairs at the busiest airport in the country.

It was observed that the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, officials of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), only arrived and joined the august visitor mid-way into the inspection. Sirika came into Lagos at a time he was scheduled to be meeting with foreign airlines in Abuja, over the planned diversion of traffic to Kaduna airport.

Osinbajo and his team stormed the departure hall of the airport from the airside, shocking both officials and passengers on ground. FAAN and immigration officials exchanged glances as Osinbajo walked by.

A FAAN official, talking to another said: “That is the Acting President. This is the first time any president or his deputy has ever come around to see what is happening here. Even this minister has never been here to see anything. This is good. It will make all of them sit up and make things better.”

Osinbajo, at the side of a faulty escalator, summoned the chief engineer to explain why the facility was not working. The Acting President only moved on after some five minutes of explanations and assurance from the minister that the equipment will be addressed.

Speaking to newsmen at the end of the visit, Osinbajo stressed that the Federal Government was committed to improving the ease of doing business in the country.

He said: “The airport is one of the major places where we need to ensure that facilities are working and that things are being done properly.

“So, we have looked around and have seen quite a few of the equipment. There are many things that need to be done and need to be corrected and we have to work on them,” he said.

Sirika corroborated the observations made by the presidency, giving assurance that all machinery would be deployed to address the issues.

Osinbajo and his team soon boarded the presidential jet back to Abuja.

Meanwhile, Osinbajo has challenged small business operators in Nigeria to play their part in the efforts at repositioning the national economy.

Osinbajo, who gave the challenge at the opening of a three-day MSME clinic in Ilorin, Kwara State, said the incumbent administration was determined to reform the micro, small and medium scale sector of the economy because of its significance.

Represented by Mr. Tola Johnson, a Special Assistant on MSME in his office, he promised to review the outcomes of the clinics being organised across the country.

At the event, Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed pledged support for MSMEs in order to create more jobs and stimulate the economy.

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