By Louis Ibah
Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday undertook a tour of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, where he inspected ongoing construction, rehabilitation and upgrade of facilities at the airport.
The Lagos airport is a beneficiary of the $500 million loan granted the Nigerian government by the Chinese Exim Bank as part of efforts to boost airport infrastructure in the country.
Osinbajo was accompanied on the unscheduled tour by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, top officials of the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Immigration, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Rehabilitation work has been too slow at the airport with contractors even abandoning the site some time in 2016 due to government’s inability to meet their financial obligations. At a stage last year, the conveyor belts and air conditioning systems of the airports stopped functioning creating so much inconveniences to passengers and even airport workers.
The Acting President and his entourage spent some time at the international wing of the airport inspecting newly installed facilities aimed at speeding up passenger facilitation through immigration as well as the receipt of luggage by incoming passengers.
General Manager, Mechanical, FAAN, Ephraim Nwodo, conducted the Acting President round the travelator and three conveyor belts and explained the workings of the facilities to all who were on the tour.
At the baggage reclaim area, which houses the three conveyor belts, Osinbajo directed the officials of FAAN to put on the facility to determine the functionality of the conveyor belts, which FAAN officials later did to his conviction.
The unscheduled visit also took the Acting President to the Visa on Arrival Section and Security Screening area both manned by officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). None of the officials on the entourage agreed to entertain questions from journalists.
There was, however, an air of excitement among airport workers and passengers that the visit of the Acting President would assist speed up ongoing construction work at the Lagos airport. Some airport workers, who were shocked at seeing the Acting President at the gateway airport and who spoke to journalists said it was the first time a government official in the caliber of Osinbajo will be visiting the airport and inspecting facilities.
According to one worker who identified herself as Agnes, “this is the first time I have ever seen President or Acting President inspecting this airport and I have worked at this airport for over a decade.”