In its commitment to the timely completion of the rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, the Enugu State government on Thursday carried out demolition exercise of buildings and structures that encroached on the airport land, for safety and security of lives and property.
Addressing newsmen during the demolition, which was carried out by the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), led by its Executive Chairman, Dr. Josef Umunnakwe Onoh, in company of officials of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Commissioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, stated that the exercise was in response to the safety concerns raised by the federal government about the airport.
It would be recalled that the federal government had raised concerns over illegal structures encroaching on the land of the airport, radio mast of the state broadcasting service, and Free Trade Zone, requesting the state government to address the challenges for safety and security of the people and the airport.
Following the swift interventions of the state government, the federal government through the Ministry of Aviation and FAAN had expressed satisfaction at the compliance with the above directives, which paved way for the ongoing rehabilitation of the airport.
Speaking, the information commissioner added that the demolition exercise was in continuation of the state government’s efforts to ensure that the airport reopens as scheduled by the federal government for effective operations.
Aroh pointed out that the State Executive Council (EXCO) in its first meeting in 2020, approved the request made by FAAN for the issuance of a composite Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) and full acquisition of the airport land, disclosing that the demolition exercise was part of the processes being carried out in the overriding public interest.
“Enugu State Government is committed to the safety of our people. We are committed to the welfare of our people and one of the most fundamental processes we need to undergo, to continue to grow the economy of Enugu State and the entire southeast geo-political zone and beyond, is to ensure that this international airport, which is the only international airport South East of the Niger is fully functional”, he said.
The commissioner disclosed that the demolition of the encroached structures will allow the installation of night landing lights at the airport, stressing that the state government is determined to ensure that any obstacle that hinders the full realization of the airport project will be duly addressed.
According to him, “We have received assurances from the contractors, from FAAN, that this airport will be re-opened for operations in April. Every land that is acquired by FAAN is acquired by the state in line with extant laws and we are providing all the necessary support for this airport to be operational. We are going to continue to put in the best of our efforts to ensure that the directives of the State Executive Council are carried out”.