Uche Usim, Maiduguri
Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika on Monday revealed that the Buhari administration completed 134 out of 157 airport projects embarked upon in 2015.
The Minister made the revelation in Maiduguri where he inaugurated the newly completed international terminal for Maiduguri International Airport where construction works commenced in 2013.
Sirika, while speaking with journalists after the inauguration said the remaining airport projects spread around the country were at various levels of completion.
He said: “Maiduguri Airport terminal rehabilitation commenced in 2013 and was abandoned but in the spirit of the style of President Buhari, he asked that we should first complete all abandoned airport projects and this is one of them.
“It underscores the importance of Borno as a state and as a northeastern region and have been ravaged by insecurity. We put importance to this airport and many other facilities that will ensure safe and secure airport operations.
“There were no scheduled flights to Maiduguri Airport before the coming of President Buhari but now you can see Azman Air here, it is scheduled to service into this airport.
“We will continue to improve upon this airport to ensure the security and safety of it operations.
“This is a continuation of all the projects that we have going around the country to the commission. We have embarked 157 projects between 2015 and now and we have completed 134 of them 100 percent. About 13 of the remaining projects are below 50 percent and the remaining are above 50 percent. Many of them we started and some of them and some we met.
“I can assure you that soon after the next Minister has come on board, he will complete all of those remaining projects to ensure that the 157 projects are completed. I cannot assure you that they will not stop halfway” he said.
Sirika assured that all the ongoing projects in the aviation sector would be completed by any Minister that would take over from him.
He added that that the government would provide all equipment needed for the airport to commence Hajj operation alongside scheduled flights.
At the Palace of Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Elkanemi, the monarch requested for the upgrade of the airport to accommodate Hajj operations and save pilgrims the hassles of traveling via other states.
He hailed President Buhari for his effort in liberating the state from the stranglehold of Boko Haram insurgency, which stunted the socioeconomic growth for some years.
He said: “prior to the coming to power of Buhari, the airport was closed down for two years but proactive measures taken by the President to curtail the insurgency led to the reopening of the airport.
“The permanent solution to all these crises is for all of us to cooperate with the security agencies by providing security for the people and continue to pray to God to save us from this kind of situation.
“The level of distraction this crisis has caused is very terrible and you cannot compare it to any of the states. When the crisis started, in one of our meeting at the Traditional Council, I told them that something had to be done otherwise it would escalate to other parts of the country, but by then people were not seeing it.
“The borders were very porous Borno shares border between Niger, Chad, and Cameroonian, the criminals were coming in any time they liked, they will kill people and go back”, he noted.