Barring any last-minute change of heart, the Federal Government will in the next one or two weeks begin the demolition of multibillion-naira private jet hangars located at the Murtala Muhammed International Lagos.
The Federal Government said the hangars were obstructing the efficient use of the international wing airport and there was a need to demolish them to pave the way for the expansion of the new international terminal built with Chinese loans at the Lagos airport.
The Minister of aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who made the government’s plan known while unveiling 10 new fire tenders, said at the Lagos airport, said the expansion of the new international terminal in Lagos would commence soon.
He said, “Those two hangars, Dominion and Evergreen, they will have to go and give way for our airport to be more efficient. We are not operating the Lagos airport at full capacity and it is household knowledge now, we have some obstructions that would be removed within the next one or two weeks, so that we can expand the apron; so that Lagos can have the full airport in full use to 100 per cent.
”And they can’t sit there in public interest and we would certainly shift them somewhere, it has to go. You cannot deny this city Lagos and the country in general from the use of their airport.
He added, ”When we demolished the Accident Investigation Bureau building that belongs to us, some people said it was to move them to Abuja, they have never been in Lagos, their headquarters is in Abuja and if the entire country is to move to Abuja, what is small AIB of 200 people. I don’t need to demolish their building, if I say go and he doesn’t go, I will fire him, I appointed him, big deal.”
According to the minister, the government agencies have been directed to come up with a document that will make the aviation industry more efficient, adding that this paper will form part of his handover notes.
”Government is a serious business, if there is no government will not be able to exist, so, what needs to be done will be done,” he added.
Dominion Hangar is reportedly own by the Senior Pastor of Living Faith World Outreach (Winners Chapel), Bishop David Oyedepo, while a former Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr Harold Demuren, is rumoured to have a stake in Evergreen Apple.
Following the opening of the Chinese-built new international terminal last year March, international and foreign airlines with jumbo planes could not move to the facility due to its small apron size. The development has hampered the efficient use of the facility said to be worth $300m.
In a bid to expand the apron side and guarantee optimum use of the facility, the government said some structuring obstructing the expansion of the apron size would be removed. Last year, the Federal Government demolished the headquarters of the AIB located behind the new terminal.
However, the government could not reportedly demolish other structures, especially the private jet hangars owned by private entities due to litigation concerns. There are reports that the government may pay about N5bn in compensation if it will have to demolish the hangars and other buildings located behind the new MMIA terminal.
It is unclear whether there is litigation on the matter or whether the Federal Government and the owners of the hangar have entered an agreement on the issue.
An official of Evergreen Apple could not immediately comment when reached for a reaction. Also, Dominion Hangar could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report.
The Assistant General Secretary, Aviation Safety and Round Table Initiative, Mr Olumide Ohunayo, while reacting to the development, said, “It is surprising that these actions are being taken after the elections when they should have been taken about four or five years ago. The terminal has been sitting there for about four or five years. It is about two months to the end of the administration. I feel we should have waited for the new administration on this. The government has to pay heavy compensation for this if it will go ahead to do it; because people have gone to banks to take loans to do these projects.”