Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has given assurances that the FCT Administration will provide complementary infrastructure services to ensure that the Nigerian Aviation Sector Roadmap is successfully implemented in the FCT.
Malam Bello gave this assurance when a delegation from the Aviation Ministry, led by the Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika, paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
The FCT Minister described the Aviation Roadmap as a legacy project that would have immense impact on the economy of the FCT and country as a whole, especially in the areas of infrastructure development, job creation and contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Malam Bello, while noting that the geometric rise in Abuja’s population has led to increased demand for aviation services, said the Aviation Roadmap was coming at a very good time.
He said reliable information from the UN Habitat projects that about 70 percent of the world’s population would migrate to the urban centres by 2050, hence the need to plan for this massive influx in the FCT.
Therefore, Malam Bello said, as part of efforts towards improving the city’s aviation landscape, the FCT Administration recently rehabilitated the nearly two kilometers stretch of road leading to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, in order to cater for the ever growing need of the airport.
He also revealed that the Administration is working towards the eventual relocation of aboriginal settlements around the airport to widen its base, adding that provisions have been for the payment of compensation and resettlement of the inhabitants of these villages.
The Minister further disclosed that efforts were being made to link the Abuja Airport rail station to the main terminal. To this end, he said the first set of coaches meant to be used for this purpose have been shipped already.
According to the Minister, “What we have presently are coaches that were meant for the trial phase. But the real coaches in the beautiful Nigerian colour of green, white, green will be here shortly and ultimately, before the end of the year, we will have like 12 sets meant to run the entire route from the city up to the airport and with the spur to Bwari and Idu.
“Ultimately, by the time about two sets of coaches arrive, we intend to run an Airport Express which will just take you from the Abuja Metro Station at the Central Business District to the airport in 18 minutes”.
He continued: “Basically, what I’m just trying to say is that the FCT Administration is very conscious of your aviation roadmap and we are doing complementary infrastructure to be able to key into that.
The FCT Minister, while commending the Aviation Ministry for the good work it is doing to reposition the aviation sector, said the FCT Administration will give all the needed support to the aviation roadmap, adding that FCT stands to benefit from the project, more than any other community in the country.
“It is very good news because of the multiplier effects in terms of employment generation, economic activities and of course also, providing needed IGR for us, either directly or indirectly,” Bello said.
Earlier in his address, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said the aviation industry need of the country is on the increase with overall air passengers rising from 12 million in 2015 to 18 million. He said the number of air passengers in the FCT has also increased from two million to five million within the same time period and could further rise to eight million by the time a national carrier becomes operational.
He appealed for the support and cooperation of the FCT Administration, especially in the provision of suitable land for this project.
On what is contained in the roadmap, Senator Sirika said “In driving the roadmap of aviation which has been approved by Mr. President and by the FEC, we have the national carrier, we have the maintenance, repair and overhaul for airplanes to serve the national carrier, we have the cargo businesses that will take advantage of the economic activity in the country, we have the Aerotropolis around the city of Abuja, we have the free zone status that we applied for and we are sure will be granted to make Abuja airport a free zone, he said
On the entourage of the aviation Minister were heads of the various agencies of the Ministry and relevant Directors.