The National Assembly has included the construction of a second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in the 2017 Appropriation Bill, it was reliably learnt on Sunday.
It was gathered that the lawmakers agreed on the construction of another runway for the airport due to the hardships created by the recent closure of the facility for repairs on its only runway for six weeks.
The Abuja airport was reopened to flight operations last Tuesday, a day earlier than the scheduled date for the reopening, having being shut on March 8.
Air traffic was diverted to the Kaduna International Airport during the period.
A source, close to the leadership of the Senate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that both the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed on the construction of a new runway for the Abuja airport and would vote between N15bn and N20bn for the project.
The source added, “The National Assembly has agreed that the construction of a second runway for Abuja airport must be in the budget and they are voting between N15bn and N20bn for it.
“This is based on our initiative going by what we witnessed during the last repairs (on the only runway), which forced the shutdown of the airport (Abuja).
“We don’t want such experience to repeat itself – the economic loss, embarrassment and the inconvenience.
“The leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives chairmen of the committees on appropriations and chairmen of the committees on aviation of both chambers met and agreed on the decision.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, could not be reached for comments on the development on Sunday.
His mobiles indicated that they had been switched off.
Abdullahi had yet to respond to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report on Sunday.
The bill, according to the National Assembly, is expected to be passed before May 2017.