Simon Ateba/Aviation correspondent
The remodelling of the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, cost Nigeria’s Federal Government N648 million, authorities said on Monday during the commissioning of the terminal building.
The terminal was commissioned by Anyim Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Government of the Federation. The minister of aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah and the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria,FAAN, Mr. George Uriesi,were in attendance.
Anyim said the refurbishing of other airports across the country will continue as scheduled even as revelations emerged recently that the airport remodelling project is cash-trapped.
The refurbishing of the terminal building by the government was controversial. FAAN had signed a concession agreement with Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited some years ago which gave the right to the latter to build and operate all terminal buildings at Lagos airport for some years before transferring them to Nigeria.
But Oduah said during the commissioning that private investors cannot “hold all of us and any of us to ransom.”
“If the airport had belonged to our neighbor, it should not have allowed it to degenerate to the level it was when we came in to salvage it,” she said.
She said the aviation ministry is ‘very prudent in the remodelling project to make sure that Nigerians get what the best.
“From now till next January, we hope to inaugurate between seven to eight new terminals, we would inaugurate that of Yola, move to Benin, Kano.”
FAAN Managing Director, Uriesi, said the new terminal will now have capacity to handle 12 domestic arrivals at peak hours and 1, 500 departing flights.
“The Federal government had in past dedicated money, for instance, the N19.5 billion, to the sector but with nothing to show for it, at this time last year, it was an old dilapidated terminal building, we began the discussion to remodel it and that has cost us N648 million.
In 2011, we had 2.1 million passengers from the domestic wing, the GAT contributed immensely to it”, he said.
He said operators are supposed to commence operations at the terminal by 4 November.
Oduah also sacked Maevis Nigeria Limited, FAAN’s revenue generating concessionaire from the Lagos and Abuja airports early this year. Maevis concession agreement was to expire in 2017. Both parties are in court.