Friday, 12 January 2018

CONTROVERSY TRAILS $500M CHINESEEXIM LOAN FOR ABUJA, LAGOS, KANO AIRPORTS

Worried by the slow pace of work at the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports, some concerned stakeholders in the Nigerian aviation industry are demanding an audit of the utilisation of the $500milion loan secured from the ChineseExim Bank for the four airports.

The stakeholders contended that if the fund secured in 2013 was properly utilised, there is no way that the construction of the new terminal buildings for the four airports would not have been completed in two years as originally scheduled. At present, work at the affected airports has not advanced beyond 70 per cent, an ugly trend that saw the Port Harcourt and Lagos international airports getting ranked as the third and fifth worst airports in the world for 2017 respectively.

According to the General Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professional (ANAP), Mr. Abdulrazak Saidu, it was possible that the $500 million loan was mismanaged by those saddled with responsibility of managing its disbursement, hence the slow pace of work at the four airports.                                     .

Speaking with journalists at the Lagos Airport over the weekend, Saidu insisted that a judicious utilisation of the fund would have ensured the completion of the airports’ construction project less than 24 months. He alleged that only fund mismanagement could have ensured that none of the airports was yet to be completed almost 48 months after work had commenced.

An analyst, Utibe Uko, who also owns a travel agency said Nigerians should compel the Federal Government to audit how the funds were disbursed given the sorry sight of the nation’s airports which remains a source of embarrassment to the country. “It is high time Nigerians, especially stakeholders in aviation, demanded to know how the $500million loan from China is being utilised,” he said.

On his part, Saidu observed that the original master plans for Lagos and Abuja Airports were distorted by the construction of the terminals, stressing that such distortion indicated lack of adequate planning by the government.

He said: “For example, the remodelling of Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) and the loan they took from China was mismanaged. The original master plan of MMIA and Nnamdi Azikwe Airport, Abuja were badly depleted. The depletion has seriously affected the control towers of both airports. What justification or right do they have? They ought to have followed the original master plan of both airports before the construction of any new terminals.” (Sun)

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