Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, says the federal government will not back down from its decision to close the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
Speaking at the second presidential business forum in Abuja on Monday, Amaechi said an aircraft belonging to Lufthansa had been grounded for the past three days as a result of damage to the plane’s gear while it was landing.
Amaechi said the entire architecture of the airport’s runway had collapsed, and that the facility built 34 years ago had outlived its 20-year lifespan.
He spoke in response to Frank Udenba-Jacobs, president of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), who expressed the opposition of the private sector to the closure
Amaechi said the works that would be done during the six-week closure is not just repairs but complete “rebuilding of the runway”.
“We are not going back on closure of Abuja airport. I understand that Lufthansa landed and its gear got damaged and it has been here for three days,” he said.
“The runaway was built to last for 20 years but it has been in use now for 34 years.”
On the suggestion that the repairs can be done at night to enable the airport to be functional during the day, Amaechi said: “We cannot do it only at night. We don’t want to lose anybody.
“We are not repairing but rebuilding. If anything happens, you will ask us to resign and we don’t want to resign.”