President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commissioned the new terminal building of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and the Dangote Fertilizer Plant all in Lagos.
The President also inspected the ongoing construction at the Dangote Refinery, and Lekki Deep Sea Port.
The president touched down at the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, at about 11 am on Tuesday.
The commissioning of the new airport terminal is coming almost eight years after its scheduled delivery date. The terminal was designed for the use of an estimated 14 million passengers annually.
The edifice, estimated to worth over $100 million, is one of the five airports – Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu – that benefited from the 2013 loan deal between Nigeria and China for the building of five new terminals. Port Harcourt and Abuja terminals had been opened since 2018.
Speaking at the commissioning event, Buhari said the completion of the terminal is a reflection of the commitment of his administration to airport infrastructure.
The president noted that his administration decided to prioritize the completion and delivery of 5 brand new International Terminals, which were at 11% completion level when he came into power in 2015.
According to him, airport infrastructure is a catalyst for economic growth, hence the importance of the new airport terminal in Lagos.
“Starting from the year 2015, when we commenced our first tenure in office as government, we have been deliberate and consistent in identifying and investing in critical projects that will improve the standard of living of our people as well as contribute immensely to our growth and development as a nation. Despite obvious limitation in terms of availability of resources our investments in interstate rail connectivity, road networks, agriculture, power and telecommunication, just to mention a few, have been unprecedented.
“Bear in mind the importance of airport infrastructure as a catalyst for economic growth.
“Similar projects at both Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport were completed and commissioned by this administration and our people have since been benefiting from the positive economic impacts of this magnificent terminals.
“I, therefore congratulate all Nigerians on the successful completion and commissioning of the terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. I am confident that the new terminal with 66 check-in counters, 16 immigration desks at arrivals 28 immigration desks at departure and the securities agreement among others who are now ongoing will contribute to ensure social, economical and prosperity of our aviation. This improvement will increase airport operations and management services to about 14 million passengers per annum with its attendant positive multiplier effects by creating about 3000 direct and indirect employment opportunities for our youths, increase inflow of foreign direct investments,” Buhari added.
Earlier, the President had commissioned the $2.5bn Fertiliser plant by the Dangote Group located in the Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos.
Top dignitaries across the country who witnessed the commissioning include Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Party (APC) leader, the governors of Ekiti, Borno, Delta, Niger, Ogun, Kano, Cross Rivers, Osun, Kogi, Nasarawa, Jigawa, and Kebbi States, among others.
Also in attendance are Jim Ovia, the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Tony Elumelu, Chairman of the United Bank for Africa and founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, Femi Otedola, His Royal Majesty, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife and Chancellor, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, among others.
Others include the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Segun Awolowo, former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba and his counterparts from Plateau and Gombe States, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairperson/CEO, NIDCOM, Tony Momoh, CEO, ChannelsTelevision, Mrs Maiden Ibru, Publisher of The Guardian Newspapers among others.
Speaking at the commissioning, Buhari said the new fertiliser plant would reduce Nigeria’s importation of urea, adding that he hopes to inaugurate the Dangote Refinery later this year, amid huge eviction and environmental concerns some residents have been upbeat about over the gargantuan project.
In his words, “Along with the several other subsidiaries, Dangote Industries Limited has created millions of jobs across Nigeria. It is the second biggest employer of labour in this country after the Federal Government.
“This is very pleasing because job creation by private sector operators is vita security as it takes thousands of youths off the street. The nation also stands to gain excessively in earnings of foreign exchange with excess production and export from the plant. I’m informed that you have started exporting to other countries including the United States, India and Brazil.”