The House of Representatives has expressed dismay over the dilapidated state of airports in the country.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim during a hearing with the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt Rabiu Yadudu, on Wednesday regretted that the situation has persisted over a long period of time.
He said, “We are concerned about our airports. Over a long period of time, we realized the escalators and lifts are not functioning. The air-conditioning system sometimes has leakages and the scanners have problems too.
“This is where we are here to find out why our airports are not functioning. If it is other countries they may decide to close down the terminal buildings because of the condition.
Also, people with disabilities are also complaining because they cannot even use the facilities. It is a problem.
The committee also queried FAAN over the demolition of houses said to be on airport land in Lagos.
“Part of our concern is the demolition going on in Lagos. You know we speak for the people so whatever concerns people affect us. That is why we decided to call you to find out what is going on in Lagos. We are not against any exercise but we really want to know what is going on there.”
Responding to the state of the airports, the MD, Capt. Yadudu said the problem was being addressed.
He said, “I believe it mostly revolves around Abuja airport. It is something we have seen and spent the past months trying to fix it. But the lifts and escalators came with the airport and have been here for almost 40 years. So they should have been replaced over time.
“Experts recommend the escalators and lifts be replaced. We started the process of replacing and it took us a lot of time because it is government due process and funding. Now there is a contract out to replace all the lifts, and escalators in Abuja airport. It is a legacy problem.”
On the demolition, he said they had frequently engaged with residents of the communities located on the airport land about the dangers of staying there.
He said in 2006 FAAN noticed encroachment on the airport land and a committee was set up to investigate to ensure the people desist.
He said announcements were made in the media warning people of the risk of purchasing land and building in restricted aviation land.
He said various committees set up by FAAN on the issue have always engaged the stakeholders and met severally with the residents of the estate bringing to the residents the danger of staying on airport land.