Ten more airports are being planned for different states across the country, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has disclosed.
Sirika made the revelation while appearing before the Senate Committee on Aviation to defend his ministry’s 2021 budget proposals.
The minister said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and the National Assembly had done justice to the civil aviation sector since 2015 through the development of a roadmap currently being implemented.
The minister said that the Federal Government would build new airports in Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, and Gombe states; adding that the Kebbi, Osubi, and Dutse airports had been taken over by the Federal Government for redevelopment.
He added that the Gombe State government had also written the federal authorities, asking for the take over the Gombe Airport.
Sirika said, “Consequent upon that roadmap, we had seen aviation grow in 2018 to become the second fastest growing sector of the economy.
“Also and by 2019, it became the fastest growing sector of the economy and increased its GDP contribution.
“From 2015 till now, we have seen a lot of growth in civil aviation, the number of airports is increasing.
“So far, about seven airports have been added to the map, some of them completed, some of them under construction. All these show that civil aviation is growing during this administration.
“So, we have about 10 new airports coming up; that is almost half the number of airports we used to have in Nigeria.
“We are adding 50 per cent of the number of airports.”
The minister also hinted that the national carrier, Nigeria Air, was part of the aviation sector roadmap, which would be delivered before 2023.
He said, “We are on it. The transaction adviser has brought in the outline business case.
“It is being reviewed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission. Soon, after it finishes, it will go to the Federal Executive Council and it will be approved.
“We will not leave this government without having it in place.”
He justified the need to site another airport in Lokoja, Kogi State as an alternate to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
He said, “Lokoja is an important northern town. It is a cosmopolitan town. It’s a mini Nigeria and it is extremely very important in growth and development of our country.
“We have a lot of agricultural activities around there. There is fishery. There is perishable item production and so on.
“So establishing an airport there is quite apt. For me, it is something we should have done long ago for its importance.”
On the issues of dilapidated equipment at some airports across the country, Sirika described it as work in progress, insisting that the airports were being attended to one after the other based on priorities.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee bemoaned the state of dilapidated facilities at Minna airport, Zuru and Ajaokuta airstrips.