* Presents 5 New Bills
Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate yesterday called on the Federal Government to urgently construct a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja since the existing one is not only bad but inadequate.
The Upper Legislative Chamber, however, noted that the initial contract, which stood at N64 billion, was unrealistic, and, therefore, urged the Federal Government to apply prudence in the construction of the new runway.
As a result, the Red Chamber urged the Federal Government to ensure that due process and diligence are followed in the design, award and pronouncement processes of the contract.
These were sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye, and entitled: The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, Second Runway – Contract.
He expressed worry that the proposed cost of constructing a runway is by far more than the cost of constructing an entirely new airport.
“The publication that the (runway) contract is already undergoing review, and to be awarded at N63.5 billion as published by newspapers across the country is another attempt to steal and rape Nigerians of our common patrimony. The entire Gombe Airport with 3.6 kilometres runway cost N8.2 billion, Jigawa Airport cost a total of N11 billion, Bauchi (Airport) cost N12 billion, Enugu Airport was reconstructed and expanded at N13 billion, Akwa Ibom (Airport) was constructed at N18.05 billion.
“The proposed cost of constructing just a runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at this astronomical amount is about four times the cost of constructing a brand new airport in Nigeria. The new Terminal 5 in Heathrow Airport with four lanes of 4 kilometre-runway cost less than N25 billion and constructing a 3.8 kilometre-one lane runway for N63.5 billion will be a waste of fund, considering Nigeria’s present economic situation.
“As representatives of the people, we must advise that due process and strict adherence to the Public Procurement Act (PPA) be observed in the said contract of the Second Abuja Airport Runway. If this is not brought to the attention of the government now, there may be another fraud in the making, given the comparative analysis of cheaper cost across the country,” he said.
Being a straight forward motion, there were no contributions and debates from other senators, as it was given the nod by the entire members of the Upper Chamber.
The UNION reports 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
In another development, five new bills were introduced on the floor of the Senate.
They include: Prevention and Punishment of Torture Bill 2015 (SB. 47) sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi and Nigerian Biodiversity Bill 2015 (SB. 79) by Senator Theodore Orji.
Others are: Fire Arms Act CAP F28 LFN 2004 (Repeal & Re-enactment) Bill 2015 (SB. 85) by Senator Joshua Dariye, Counterfeit Goods Bill 2015 (SB. 117) by Senator Isah Misau and National Ecological Agency (Establishment, etc.) Bill 2015 (SB. 121) by Senator Obinna Ogba.
Similarly, a report from the Senator Samuel Anyanwu-led Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions was presented on the floor of the Senate and laid before it.
It asked the Senate to receive its report on a petition from Mr. Nnoke Chinedum against MacMillan Nigeria Publishers Limited on the non-payment of part of his monthly emoluments and other other entitlements, after the termination of his appointment.