President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday presided over the very first Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of the year, and approved N4.6 billion for the purchase of new fire-fighting equipment to contain fire incidents in the country.
At the meeting, the council approved the closure of Abuja airport for a period of six weeks, as proposed.
Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, who spoke to state house correspondents after the meeting said the decision to close the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for six weeks was approved by the FEC in order to repair its dysfunctional runway.
Sirika also revealed that the federal government had approved N1 billion for the conclusion of the Kaduna Airport terminal, which had been debated as an alternative for the Abuja airport.
The Niger state government, though, had said over the week that Minna International Airport was a better alternative to the Kaduna Airport.
“In times like this, Minna airport should be used and in the most economic way; it should also be used as a cargo airport,” Jonathan Vatsa, Niger commissioner for information, had said in a statement.
“Therefore, with the planned closure of Abuja airport for rehabilitation, it is wise economically to use Minna to serve Abuja. The proximity of Minna to Abuja is one hour plus if the dualisation work on Minna-Suleja road is fast-tracked and completed as planned by the federal government.
“As government, we therefore call on the authorities to look into this viable alternative.”
Abdulrahman Danbazzau, minister of interior, who disclosed the council’s decision to vote N4 billion for firefighting equipment, said the move was aimed at enabling the federal fire service work optimally at this time.