Senate yesterday queried the planned review of the contract for the construction of the second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, which is estimated at N63.5 billion, even as it urged the federal government to ensure due process in award of contracts.
It, however, stressed the need for the federal government to as a matter of urgency construct a second runway at the airport, but at a reasonable amount.
These resolutions were sequel to a motion by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) entitled ‘The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, Second Runway Contract’ on the floor of the red chamber.
The Senate also urged the federal government to ensure that due process and diligence were followed in the award of contracts for the construction of the second runway.
While calling on the federal government to drastically reduce what it termed unrealistic cost, it said the government must monitor the contract award process.
Presenting the motion, Senator Melaye noted that the contract for the construction of the second runway was cancelled by the last administration after allegations of over inflation of contracts was established.
The senator, who informed that the contract was awarded by the Federal Executive Council at the cost of N64 billion, after ratification by the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, added that there was also the great need for the construction of a second runway.
According to him, “The existing one is not only bad but inadequate.”
He observed that the entire Gombe Airport, with 3.6km runaway, cost N8.2 billion, Jigawa Airport cost a total of N11 billion, Bauchi cost N12 billion, Enugu Airport, reconstructed and expanded, cost N13 billion and Akwa Ibom Airport was constructed at N18.05 billion.
He therefore expressed worry that the proposed cost of constructing just a runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, was astronomical, insisting that the amount was four times the cost of constructing a brand new runway in the country.
Senator Melaye expressed further worry that the new Terminal 5 in Heathrow Airport, with four lanes of 4m runway cost less than N22 billion, saying constructing a 3.8km runway one-line for N63.5 billion would be a waste of fund considering Nigeria’s present economic situation.
He said, “The publication that the contract is already undergoing review and to be awarded ar 63.5 billion as published by newspapers is another attempt to steal and rape Nigerians of our common patrimony.
“Further convinced by the fact that the entire Gombe Airport with 36km runway cost of N8.2 billion naira, Jigawa airport cost 12 billion, Enugu Airport was constructed and expanded at 13 billion and Akwa-Ibom Airport at N18.05 billion.
“If this not brought to attention of the government now, there may be another fraud in the making, given the comparative analysis of cheaper cost across the country.”
In his ruling on the motion, Senate President Bukola Saraki tasked the government to put in motion necessary machinery to construct a better runway at the Abuja International Airport, just as he said every process in awarding the contract was through due process.

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