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Nigerian Senate opposes closure of Abuja Airport; say diverting flights to Kaduna will endanger lives of Nigerians

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-Anietie Udobit, NASS

Following the planned closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Senate said the diversion of flights to Kaduna Airport as an alternative would pose a major security risk to lives and properties of Nigerians.
In a sponsored motion by Senator Hope Uzodinma representing Imo West Senatorial District which was co-sponsored by five others, they contended that operations could go on simultaneously with repairs because of insecurity in the state.

Senator Uzodinma was emphatic that the nation cannot wait to witness consequences of insecurity if government make good its planned shut down of Abuja for Kaduna Airport.
“We are aware of the logistics and security challenges the diversion of Abuja bound flights to Kaduna will throw up, including endangering of the lives and properties of international and local air travellers who will be forced to travel by land from Kaduna to Abuja,” Uzodinma submitted.

Senator Sam Anyanwu on his part observed that Kidnapping of high profile citizens has assumed a dangerous dimension in and around Kaduna State, hence, Federal Government should stop the plan.
He added that the FG cannot finish repairs within three months as envisaged.
Kabiru Gaya suggested that temporary run ways should be created without completely shutting down the airport so as not to create economic challenges for some airlines.
Dino Melaye (Kogi West) described as a national embarrassment to have an airport shut down because a section of international airport is being repaired.

In support of FG’s decision, Shehu Sani maintained that it was unfortunate that Nigeria politicians are afraid of problems they created, saying, Kaduna remains safe for all Nigerians.
In his prayers, Senate President, Bukola Saraki asked the Minister of Aviation and other stakeholders to appear before the committee on Aviation within two days for its report to be reverted to the Senate in two weeks time.

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