Nigeria Federal Government through its agency, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has commenced the renovation of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
The development is coming after Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo visited the airport some weeks ago as acting president and complained about the state of its facilities.
FAAN, however, said prior to the Vice President’s visit, there were plans to prepare the airport for certification by the International Civil Aviation Organisation before the end of the year.
ICAO has set May as the deadline for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, to be ready for the certification while the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja is expected to be ready for the same process in December.
The two airports were chosen due to their volumes of traffic in the country, both of which have the largest air passenger traffic in Africa.
In what FAAN described as quick fix, there have been improvements at the terminal with signage at every point, directing passengers and other visitors to their destinations.
Our correspondent also observed that the cooling system had been upgraded and waiting areas created for passengers at both arrival and departure halls outside the terminal, which had helped to reduce the number of people in the halls.
According to the FAAN’s Deputy General Manager, Operations, Victoria Shina-Aba, there are plans to also install screening machines that will screen items and put an end to manual checking of luggage, which many passengers have complained about.
She said the travelators, escalators, some conveyor belts that were out of use and the check-in counters would be fixed and that with time, FAAN would carry out total refurbishment of the terminal including flooring of relevant areas.
Some passengers, who spoke with our correspondent on Friday, however, said there were still a lot more to be done.
“Security should be improved upon too. I don’t know if it is within the purview of FAAN but these security agents who solicit for money from travellers at will should be checked; it is an embarrassment to our country. The extortion is too much, especially for those travelling out of the country for the first time,” a traveller who identified himself as Bolaji said.
Another traveller said the quick fix should start from outside the terminal, adding that the signage with the MMIA inscription should be electrified.
“These little details matter a lot and say a lot about the country for those visiting for the first time. At least if the government is going to open a new terminal going by the construction that is ongoing, the old one should be maintained,” he said.