President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday again took a swipe at his predecessors, saying they did little to increase passenger handling capacity or airport terminals since early 1980s.
Buhari made the claim in his remarks at the inauguration of the new terminal of the Port Harcourt International Airport in Omagwa, River State.
He said the neglect by successive governments couple with increase in the nation’s population made the airport terminals to become woefully inadequate to cater for the increase in passenger traffic.
The President said it, therefore, became necessary for government to take decisive action to ensure the nation’s airport terminals meet minimum international standards for the travelling public.
He said the construction of four new international terminals at Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano airports was embarked upon by the Federal Government with a view to modernising the ageing airport infrastructure to meet global aviation standards.
He said, “This ceremony represents a significant landmark for international air travellers, particularly from the South-South region, and the entire country.
“You will recall that after opening the major airport terminals in the country in the late 70s and early 80s, not much was added to increase the passenger handling capacity of these facilities by successive administrations.
“Following the large increase in national population with the consequent surge in air passenger traffic, the capacity of the airport terminals became woefully inadequate to cater for the increase in passenger traffic.
“Although, palliative measures were periodically carried out, the facilities were fast giving-in to the effects of wear and tear.
“It, therefore, became necessary to take decisive action to ensure our terminals meet minimum international standards for the travelling public.
“The Federal Government responded to a global trend in which aviation became a catalyst for economic growth as a result of massive and speedy movement of persons, goods and services in a safe and secure manner.
“As part of the infrastructure renewal program, the construction of four new international terminals at Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano airports was embarked upon by the Federal Government with a view to modernising the ageing airport infrastructure to meet global aviation standards and improved service delivery in tandem with best international practices.”
Buhari recalled that the presentation of the 2017 Budget to the National Assembly, He promised to upgrade and develop Nigeria’s transport, power and health infrastructure, and complete a number of stalled infrastructure projects.
These, he said, included construction of new terminals at the country’s five major airports; numerous major road projects; key power transmission projects; and the completion of the Kaduna – Abuja as well as Itakpe to Warri railway lines.
He added that with Nigeria having an advantageous central location within the sub-region and government’s desire to develop into a regional air transportation hub, must upgrade its facilities to take advantage of its assets.
Credit: The Punch