The federal government yesterday insisted that it would go ahead to shut down the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for six weeks to enable repair works despite outcry from some stakeholders.
Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, who spoke at the 2nd Presidential Business Forum at the State House, Abuja, disclosed that the bad state of the airport runway was already hindering aviation operations.
The Forum was a platform for interaction between the private sector and the government and the minster was responding to the concerns over the negative impact of the closure of the airport by the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Udenba-Jacobs, on behalf of the Organised Private Sector (OPS).
Amaechi declared that ministers would not allow untoward incidents at the airport to make Nigerians demand for their resignation, noting that a Lufthansa aircraft has been grounded for the past three days due to damaged gear on landing at the airport.
According to him, the entire runway has collapsed, stressing that it is totally unsafe to continue to use the runway and repair work cannot be done at night.
“We are not going back on closure of Abuja Airport. I understand that Lufthansa landed and damage their gear and has been here for three days. The runaway was built to last for 20 years but it has been in use now for 34 years.
“We cannot do it only at night. We don’t want to lose anybody. We are not repairing but rebuilding. If anything happens, you will ask us to resign and we don’t want to resign”.