Lagos rail project: Bishop Oyedepo’s hangar, others for demolition

  • FAAN acquires N12 billion fire trucks for four airports
  • Aerodromes lacked adequate fire cover for 15 years, Minister laments
  • Govt. to establish fire truck assembly in Nigeria

                       

The difficulty in commuting between the domestic and the international wings of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos would soon be a thing of the past as the Federal Government has concluded plans to build a light rail that the airport.

This is part of the plan to develop the Lagos airport into an aerotropolis like it is done in many aerodromes across the world.

The Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika made the disclosure in Lagos on Saturday at the unveiling of the N12 billion fire tenders, adding that the government would be signing a contract this week to build a rail line connecting the international and domestic airport terminal in Lagos.

Simply put, an aerotropolis is an airport city. It encompasses aviation-dependent businesses and the commercial services that support them and the multitude of air travelers who pass through the airport annually. These businesses include, among others, high-tech and advanced manufacturing, logistics, and e-commerce fulfillment; high-value perishables and biomeds; destination retail, sports, entertainment, and medical/wellness complexes; hotels, conferences trade, and exhibition centers; and offices for business people who travel frequently by air or engage in global commerce.

Sirika with FAAN MD, Capt Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu before unveiling 12 new fire trucks at Lagos airport

Sirika noted that the two obstacles to the expansion, Dominion and Evergreen Apple hangars, and offices would have to be demolished.

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The two hangars to be demolished, Dominion hangar is owed by Bishop David Oyedepo, founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, and Evergreen Apple by the former Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren.

He said they would have to give way for the airport to be more efficient, adding that, it is a $300m investment over there.

”And they can’t sit there in the public interest and we would certainly shift them somewhere, it has to go. You cannot deny this city Lagos and the country in general from the use of their airport”.

”When we demolished the AIB building that belongs to us, some people say it is to move them to Abuja, they have never been to Lagos, their headquarters is in Abuja and if the entire country is to move to Abuja, what is small AIB OF 200 people. I don’t need to demolish their building, if I say go and he doesn’t go, I fire him, I appointed him, big deal”.

He said, the agencies have been directed to put together documents of all safety and security-critical items that would make the industry more efficient, and more profitable for posterity to form his handing over notes.

”Government is a serious business, if there is no government will not be able to exist, so, what needs to be done will be done”

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The ten new state-of-the-art aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles had been purchased for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, to serve three International airports. The airports are Lagos, Kano, and Abuja.

At the inauguration of the vehicles, Sirika said, this is further evidence of the commitment of the Buhari government transformation of the sector for a safe, secure, and efficient industry.

According to the minister, for over 15 years, no single fire vehicle had been purchased to fight fire in the event of an occurrence.

Sirika noted that what obtained in the past is, cannibalizing one or two fire trucks to fix another, the majority of which were obsolete and outdated.

”The absence of fire cover is the number reason to close down an airport”.

He recalled the sad accident involving the Sosoliso crash in Port-Harcourt where there was no adequate fire cover for the airport to save passengers on board, especially the children coming back from school.

”We all remember our children that left Abuja for Port Harcourt in the Sosoliso crash, we couldn’t save those children because some of them even though the airplane landed but crashed were still alive, we didn’t have adequate proper fire cover to save those lives and parents were seeing their children burning alive”.

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The Minister stated that the investments in the aviation industry both seen and unseen by passengers have been the focus of the Buhari administration since 2015.

He added that they are all intended to keep everyone, ”very safe, very secure, and move very efficiently”.

The minister disclosed that a fire truck rehabilitation, overhaul, and maintenance center is to be established and begin to assemble in Nigeria for use in the country and for the market for West and Central Africa.

He said, the contract has been awarded and is ongoing and will be operational in 6 months.

”So, we are doing quite a lot and we are talking about safety and security of the sector. When we leave we pray those people coming to succeed us would do much, much better than we have done”.

In his opening remarks, the Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu said this acquisition is an attestation of quality and positive transformational changes for the safe, secure, and efficient Aviation sector of the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking on the acquired vehicles, he said, they strictly adhered to all regulatory automotive standards for major firefighting vehicles.

Wole Shadare