Pitch-Dark Lagos Airport!

Arriving in the country at night through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, gives you a false sense of illumination everywhere around the Lagos airport.

 Driving from the international wing of Lagos to Oshodi equally gives a first-time traveler a false sense of electricity everywhere around the airport. The newly built expressway from the airport to the Charity Bus stop in Oshodi is a beauty to behold.

The stretch of that road is not only well lit at night, but the aesthetics on the road occasioned by flowers planted by the sides of the roads also makes first-time travelers be truly proud of work done on that road, which for many years had been described as a shame of a nation.

The sad reality hits hard when travelers have to travel to Ikeja using the domestic airport link road. From the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) training school down to Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Base leaves much to be desired. The darkness around the area makes one wonder what happened to the street lights, which bulbs need just replacement.

FAAN MD, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu

Some of the street light poles are begging for replacement. Some have been knocked down by vehicles and had remained like that for months. Light from the billboards of MMA2 terminal, the Presidential Wing of the airport, and Arik Air provide illumination from Strabag bus stop to intersection roads to Agege Motor Road and Ikeja under the bridge.

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The functional street lights along the long stretch of the road could only provide insignificant lighting to the area. I think FAAN management should take a cue from Lagos State for the type of lighting it is providing for major streets and roads in the state.

The blurry red lights have been replaced with brighter white lights that not only provide beauty to most roads at night but have also helped to reduce criminal activities of bad people who hide under the cover of darkness to perpetrate all kinds of atrocities.

Not a few believe that the relocation of all the aviation agencies to Abuja under the policy of the Federal Government may have led to the abandonment of Lagos airport. Doing that would be detrimental not only to FAAN but the aviation industry in general. The Lagos and Abuja airports generate 80 percent of total aviation revenue.

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As a matter of fact, all other airports managed by FAAN rely on revenue from these aerodromes for survival as virtually all other airports are run at a loss. They survive on these two and the support the Federal Government may extend to them.

 One only needs to visit the airport at night to understand fully, the danger of throwing many parts of the airport into darkness at night. It is a sorry sight.

A well-lit airport and environment could help to track criminals who may want to escape into the dark after committing crimes with the aid of Close Circuit Television/ Camera if truly the multi-million dollar facilities allegedly installed in 2011 and 2012 are working.

The Abuja airport CCTV project was reportedly awarded to a Chinese firm, ZTE Communications, for $47 million, an equivalent of N76 billion, in 2010, after then Finance Minister, Olusegun Aganga, led a delegation to Beijing, China, where the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed.

 It is unknown the amount that Lagos gulped. On the team was the then Minister of Police Affairs, Adamu Waziri, and the then Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim.

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The Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera project was to be financed with a $600m financing portfolio, which was secured as a soft credit loan, with three percent interest repayable in 10 years, after an initial 10 years of grace.

 People are getting more exposed to alternative sources of power like solar, and in a place like Lagos, where the sun helps in no small measure for the maximum functionality of solar-powered energy, those who know the worth of the equipment are carting them away in bits, and it is, therefore, a common sight in Lagos airport to see fallen poles that were used to erect the panels with the batteries and other accessories removed.

Interestingly, the vandalised panels are located in the heart of the airport and city, areas where people in positions of authority drive through on a daily basis.

Wole Shadare