Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, has said that the six-week closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, brought several benefits to the state.
A statement by the Media Aide to the governor, Samuel Aruwan yesterday said the repairs of the airport terminal offered Kaduna the opportunity of receiving local and international flights which exposed the state to numerous benefits.
“The closure of the Abuja airport and diversion of flights to Kaduna boosted business activities and created jobs in the state during the period. No fewer than 4,000 flights operated at the Airport. The diversion of Abuja flights to Kaduna airport demonstrated federal government’s confidence in the state,” the statement said.
“In preparation for the diversion of flights, the federal government rehabilitated the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway. The Kaduna State government complemented this by repairing the Western Bye-pass of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway and constructing a new 5.2 kilometers road to link the airport road with the Rigasa Train Station.
“We have also installed street lights on major roads leading to and from the airport to facilitate the movement of passengers between Kaduna and Abuja.
“The residents of Kaduna will continue to benefit from these investments long after the reopening of the Abuja Airport,” El-Rufai said.
He therefore, commended the federal government for making Kaduna International Airport the alternative route during the closure of Abuja Airport and bringing enormous development to the state.
The statement also said the Kaduna State government was grateful to all institutions and individuals that made the Kaduna Airport a successful alternative while the Abuja Airport was closed for repairs and commended the level of collaboration between agencies and all tiers of government.
He lauded the contributions of local airlines, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and road transporters and Ethiopian Airlines being the only international carrier that operated from Kaduna while the Abuja Airport repairs lasted.
El-Rufai also commended the federal government for completing the repairs at the Abuja Airport on schedule, and urged airlines to maintain their operations at the Kaduna Airport.