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Abuja Airport: FG Officially Takes Ownership of 4.2km 2nd Runway Site

The proposed second runway, aims to address the growing air traffic demands at the Abuja airport.

The Federal Government, Thursday officially took over the 4.2 kilometers site for the construction of the much anticipated second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), in Abuja.

The proposed second runway, the government hinted, aims to address the growing air traffic demands at the Abuja airport, effectively enhancing the efficiency and capacity of the airport.

Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, in his remarks at the official handing over of the portion of land by the Jiwa community to government emphasised the importance of the project in enhancing the country’s aviation infrastructure.

He explained that the issue of the second runway, the Abuja second runway has been on the cards since the administration of Chief Obasanjo, stating: “It was a big issue at that time, and successive administrations have not been able to have a day like this where dreams become reality.

“Today is a day we must just thank the people of the Jiwa community. We promised so much because your traditional head here fought for you.”

According to him, “Each time we met with him, he did not want to hear any other thing but the welfare of his people. He was always fighting for his people. And so, when we could not bypass the law, we wish you could pay more. But, the moment we pay one kobo more for Jiwa, the whole of Abuja community will be affected. It will be like a ripple effect.”

While assuring that the Ministry will do everything possible to ensure that the construction company engages locals, however said that in response to the community’s demands for a compensation increase, “the N825.8 million initial compensation was regulated by law.”

Keyamo said that the Ministry planned to utilise the resources from the 2024 budget to undertake significant projects within the community, including healthcare facilities, bridges, and roads as part of moves to further compensate the community.

“A health center is coming to Jiwa community. I think a bridge is also one of the most sought-after bridges and is about five kilometers roads. So, many things we promised since we cannot bypass the law we said okay, let us follow the law and put these projects right in the 2024 projects.

“Apart from that, you can be sure that the benefits of the second runway will be immense. The second runway opens up so many other opportunities, more planes can land, more commercial activities. So, for those who have lost their farms and other personal belongings like houses, I can assure you that you will gain double the value of those things you’ve lost.

“So, for the contractors, my last word for you, our brothers in the Jiwa community are able bodied people so we don’t want to hear that some wielders, or carpenters or any other artisan are coming from outside to work with you. It must be the sons and daughters of the Jiwa community that will work with you.”

The handover ceremony which was held on Thursday in Abuja, was attended by top government officials, Chairman of the aviation committees in the National Assembly, aviation stakeholders, and representatives of the host community.

In his earlier address, the Emir of Jiwa community, Idris Musa, urged to the government and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, (CCECC), to ensure involvement of community members, which according to him, would not only provide job opportunities but also empower local residents and foster ownership of the development within the Jiwa community.

While recognising the transformative impact of the anticipated project and its surrounding communities, called on the community youths not to revolt against the project.

“My farm was affected and many of you know that my farm is very big, and I know how much I collected it. I want to use this medium to say sorry for what happened to you. I’m pleading with you to be a little patient.

“I want to appeal to the House of Assembly to look at the prices of the compensation that is paid in FCT. This is meager and without you changing the way it’s supposed to be paid, many people will die.

“The money given to us cannot even train our children, cannot even make us feed. The House of Assembly, you have to change and quickly review these things for us. I want to thank the minister for his cooperation,” Musa said.

 Kasim Sumaina

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