Fresh facts have emerged on why the four international airport terminal in Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano may not be able to meet the February deadline earlier slated for their commissioning.
The $500 million project, Woleshadare.net gathered, has remained in limbo for over four years and had four times not met the deadline for use by the public, except for the skeletal services going on there.
Despite the prospects, which the project holds for commercial flights in Nigeria’s dominant economic centres, uncertainty surrounds the immediate completion and future sustainability of these terminals.
A source told tour correspondent that the delay was as a result of many factors such as the long time it took the country to remit its counterpart funds for the project.
The new terminal buildings, conceived by the previous administration for Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt airports, were not sited at the proper locations before work commenced.
A visit to the terminals in Lagos and Abuja shows that the project has reached 80 per cent completion stage.
The two terminals are progressing positively and may be the first of the four to be delivered this year, but that of Abuja is a tough call because of its structural error in erecting a terminal that would block the control tower and that of the fire fighters.
The faulty design of the new international terminal under construction at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja (NAIAA), would be a partial blockage of the control tower after completion.
It could cost the Federal Government between N3 billion and N4.5 billion to replace the facility.
Our correspondent gathered from top ministry of transportation officials that the budget to relocate the facilities may be captured in the 2018 budget.
It was observed that the new terminal building is blocking a section of the control tower. Industry experts say that isn’t very safe for air control.
Aside that, the new terminal building, being built by CCECC, at the Abuja airport, located after terminal D, is badly located, as it violates the Abuja airport master plan, blocks the control tower, obstructs the fire tender, has water/sewage issues, has power issues, has small apron space and doesn’t link the existing terminals seamlessly.
Aside N3.4 billion it would require to relocate the control tower, the country would also need enormous funds to fix the anomalies in all the four international buildings being built under the $500 million loan from the Chinese government.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, last week, at the inspection of the Abuja airport terminal, said the challenges include “the problem of linking the new terminal building with the old terminal building. We have the problem here in Abuja of blocking the control tower, which is a safety issue, we have the fire service blocking access to the terminal building, making it difficult for aircraft to manoeuvre the airport and use the apron and even, the apron is too small.
“The absence of power, sewage and water are all part of the challenge” he explained, adding that “all of these have impacted the completion time of the airport.
“From the initial numbers, I am getting that what we need to complete this procurement is in excess of $400 million. It is beyond me as a minister to take the decision to fund it from government or take a loan from the same source (China EXIM Bank) to add to the previous loan of $500 million,” he said.
The contractor, CCECC, represented by the managing Director, Mr. Jack Li, said: “In general, about 83 per cent of the project has been achieved. The structure is almost done and we will do the installation. If we get the funding, the entire project should be ready in one year.”
The $500 million loan for the five airport terminals was part of a bigger $1.1 billion credit facility obtained from the Export and Import Bank of China for the building of critical infrastructure that includes the Abuja Light Rail and the Galaxy Backbone ICT projects.