President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the new international terminal of the the Port Harcourt Airport, in Omagwa, Rivers State.
The new terminal was constructed by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company Nigeria Limited as part of the $500 million concessional loan from the Export – Import Bank of China in 2013.
Nigeria provided $100 million as counterpart funding for the project, which was expected to be delivered in 18 months. The new terminal only became ready for commissioning five years later.
The President arrived the Airport at about 12:30pm and was immediately driven to the new terminal.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, President Buhari posited that the new Port Harcourt International Airport terminal will play a significant role in promoting the prosperity of River State.
He also said that the new terminal will increase passenger flux through the Airport as well as facilitate the movement of cargo. The President remarked that the Airport was getting to international standard, a panacea for the economic growth of Rivers State.
President Buhari also said that the government is engaging in deliberate efforts to increase handling capacities and infrastructure of the nation’s transport sector which was not taken care of since the 70s and 80s when they were built.
He said it was part of his promises to upgrade Nigeria’s transport infrastructure in all Geo-political zones of the country.
In his words:” Today’s commissioning is a significant landmark for international travelers especially those in the South South region.
“Not much was done after these airports were built in the 70s and 80s to increase handling capacity of the airports and so we needed to take decisive steps to ensure that our terminals meet the minimum international global standards”
“In the 2017 budget, I promised to upgrade Nigeria’s transport and complete a number projects that will be beneficiary to the nation economically and these include construction of new terminals, railways and power projects,” he said.
“Today’s commissioning is a direct policy to sustain economic growth in all geo political zones of the country,” the president remarked.
In his remarks, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said the project commenced in 2014 and was inherited from the previous administration at 30 per cent completion in 2015.
He remarked that despite the inherent challenges associated with the project, The President had given approval for the lapses to be corrected.
He listed the challenges to include; inadequate power supply, litigation, lack of apron space which have been addressed .
Speaking earlier, Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike assured the president that the people of Rivers State and indeed the South South are happy with the project stating that it would foster further investment in the state.