President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, reiterated the commitment of his administration to upgrade all airports in the country to meet minimum acceptable international standards, saying the ongoing rehabilitation being carried out in airports across the country is part of this commitment.
He stated this while receiving the report of the Federal Government’s delegation to the 2011 Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia which was presented to him by the leader of the delegation and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to the President, besides upgrading the airports, the Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, has also been directed to ensure that roads and other facilities around the airports were also upgraded.
The president explained that “our aim is to upgrade our airports in such a way that they will meet minimum acceptable international standards. The exercise will continue.
“Airports are the first contacts foreigners have with a country. We must present our country from the airport and through the roads they will ply into the town as a responsible country.
“We shall upgrade roads and other facilities around our airports.”
On the report on Muslim pilgrimage, President Jonathan said his administration would look at all the recommendations and ensure its implementation, adding that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, would be persuaded on the need to sustain the concessionary foreign exchange rate being extended to pilgrims as suggested by the delegation.
He directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, to ensure that the government delegation for the 2012 hajj be constituted immediately to ensure smooth exercise.
Earlier in his speech, Sultan Abubakar told the President that the 2011 hajj was conducted smoothly with many improvements recorded.