The Federal Government has said it would demolish structures obstructing the expansion of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos as part of efforts to achieve optimal utilization of the new international status of the airport.
Specifically, the government said in the next few weeks, it would remove the Dominion and Evergreen hangars valued at over $ 300 million to have space to construct where aircraft will be parked at the new international terminal of the country’s premier airport.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika stated this while inaugurating 10 super-structure, ultra-modern primary firefighting vehicles valued at over N12billion at the Lagos Airport.
Sirika said the government had to take the hard decision in the public interest to guarantee full utilization of the new international airport terminals.
He said the two hangars are preventing enough room for the expansion of the new terminal apron.
He said the facility was grossly under-utilized because of constraints of space where bigger aircraft would park at the airside.
The minister said nothing would stop the government from removing the hangars, which serve as an obstacle to the infrastructure expansion drive of the administration.
Besides, Sirika said very soon the administration would begin the construction of another international terminal beside the old facility of the airport as part of the infrastructure program of the administration.
Sirika said the government is working hard to change the face of aviation in Nigeria as it will next week sign an agreement for the construction of a rail link between the local and international terminals of the Lagos Airport.
The idea of the infrastructure upgrade is to transform the Lagos Airport into an airport city, otherwise described as an Aerotropolis.
He slammed critics of the project, describing them as people who do not mean well for the country.
The minister said: “We are not operating Lagos airport at full capacity. We have some obstructions that will be removed within the next one or two weeks to expand the Apron so that Lagos will have full use 100 percent.
“Those two hangars I talked about, Dominion and Evergreen, will have to go and give way for our airport to be more efficient. It is a $300 million investment over there and they cannot sit there in public interest. We have to shift them, it has to go. You cannot deny Lagos and the country in general from using the airports.
“We are going to demolish Dominion Hangar and Evergreen Apple Nigeria hangars to make way for the new Apron and that would be in a few weeks. Demolition of Dominion and Evergreen Apple is a must.
airport to a lower category.”
Sirika said besides the fire fighting trucks, the government has procured air navigation and weather detection equipment, including Low Level Wind Shear Alerting Systems at 15 airports to guide aircraft landing and take off.
He said the government has also set up a Fire Truck Rehabilitation and Overhaul Centre in Nigeria to save the administration the prohibitive cost of carrying out maintenance in offshore locations.
The centre, Sirika said would serve the needs of countries with unserviceable fire fighting vehicles in West and Central Africa.
Srika , however, spared a thought for the in- coming administration : “ We have built a good foundation upon which the next administration could consolidate. There should be no need to destroy what we have done. I am confident that the people coming will perform better. There should be no need to upturn what we have done. The transformation in the industry should not be politicized.|”
He therefore, called on heads of aviation agencies and other industry stakeholders and experts to put together a blueprint to deepen the growth of the aviation industry, saying such a document would form part of his handover notes to the in- coming administration .
Speaking earlier in his opening remark, Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu said the ten (10) super-structure, ultra-modern major firefighting vehicles were to be deployed to MMA Lagos, NAIA Abuja and MAKIA Kano FAAN is processing for additional vehicles for Port-Harcourt and Enugu.
Giving a breakdown of the capabilities of the equipment, Yadudu said,” Each vehicle not only carries 14,000 litres of water; 1,700 litres of foam and 250kg powder capacity; it also monitors the discharge rate of between 6,000Litres to 10,000 litres per minute. Acceleration rate is from 0 to 80km/ hours in 30 seconds.
“The truck can discharge while in motion (professional pump and roll operation) and is equipped with under chassis nozzles to tackle running fuel fire. These vehicles would be deployed to MMA Lagos, NAIA Abuja and MAKIA Kano while we are also processing for additional vehicles for Port-Harcourt and Enugu.”
He continued ,”In addition to acquisition of the major firefighting vehicles we have procured eight new water tankers for continuous agent applications and more will still come. Additional eleven ambulances were also procured to replace the obsolete ones that were bought in 1996. For the first time the Fire Chiefs have their Response Commanders’ Vehicles, the two new Prado jeeps were deployed to MMA and NAIA respectively, more will also be procured in due course.
According to him, comprehensive training for the end users of these vehicles and mechanical units would be given to ensure the vehicles are not only used as specified by the manufacturers, but would also be maintained accordingly.
Source: The Nation