By Ali Smart
Against the backdrop of current economic realities, the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, admonished state governments against embarking on new airports projects for now, adding that such projects are elitist and would not relieve the suffering masses in any way.
Amaechi, who spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital at the weekend while fielding questions from reporters, said no governor
should undertake to build new airports now unless the socio-economic fortunes of such a state and Nigeria improves substantially.
The minister, who was on an assessment visit to some projects executed by the Ogun State government on behalf of the Federal Government, said Nigeria is already replete with many airports that have proven to be unviable.
“Governors should focus on those things that would improve on the lives of
the poor, not the rich. It’s the rich people that fly plane. How many poor people know where airport is much more fly an aircraft?”
“I believe that the construction of airport should be backed by the growth of the economy. There are some airports that are constructed just for the governors to land and take off. That won’t be the idea for me as minister of transportation.
“I’d prefer that all airports that are constructed would be backed by economic demand. And when we look at the numbers, if the numbers add up… we would not discourage Ogun State if you like to construct an airport, but we would like to advise that they should look at the economics of an airport,” Amaechi said.
He however assured of Federal Government’s commitment towards the completion of new terminals of the nation’s four international airports in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano.
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