COVID-19: FG suspends rehabilitation work on Enugu Airport, says Easter deadline not feasible
FOLLOWING the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika on Tuesday suspended the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
Sirika, who disclosed this when he inspected the Enugu airport, said that work was suspended because workers of the construction company (PW) handling the project left the site to be with their families owing to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic ravaging the world.
The minister who was accompanied by the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Hamisu Rabiu Yadudu, stated that 92 to 93 percent of the work at the Enugu airport had been completed.
His words: “The work would have been completed in a few weeks time, but the workers left to be with their families in view of the social distancing protocol.
“But considering that the construction workers have downed tools owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government hereby officially announces suspension of work.”
He added that the remaining work at the airport will only require 15 days to be completed when the workers return to site.
Maintaining that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was fully determined to complete the rehabilitation of Enugu airport to international standard before Easter, Senator Sirika explained that the circumstances the nation has found itself, regarding the escalating threat of COVID-19 globally, has made it impossible for the Federal Government to meet the deadline.
The Minister pointed out that though the Federal Government had closed the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, alongside others, as one of the proactive measures to contain the spread of the deadly disease, such necessary decision couldn’t have affected the ongoing work at the airport if not that the company’s workers downed tools.
Senator Sirika disclosed that the Federal Government introduced “glass mesh” in the Enugu airport runway to strengthen it and help in retaining the structure for a very long time, stressing that the new technology, before now, was only introduced at the Abuja airport.
“Many other issues like the Cargo for this airport, other infrastructure, the terminal building under rehabilitation including the air conditioner system in the new international airport being built by the Chinese and of course the perimeter fencing, drainage and water supply, among others, will all be completed in this airport,” he added.
Nigerian Tribune reporst that the Minister, therefore, lauded Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and his colleagues in the South East Zone as well as stakeholders for their sacrifice and commitment towards the rehabilitation of the Enugu airport.
While appealing to the people of the Southeast geo-political zone for understanding, the Minister expressed hope that the issue of COVID-19 would soon be over.