FG reopens Enugu Airport, plans to concession it

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has appealed to the people of the South East region to increase their commitment by using the just reopened Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu to the fullest of its capacity even as he hinted that the airport will subsequently be positioned for concession to ensure value for money.

The minister called on investors from the South-East region to come forward and invest when plans to concession the strategic airport begin.

Speaking at the reopening of the airport, Sirika commended the Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for helping to remove the communication masts and other the facilities which had hitherto served as obstacles towards completing the reconstruction of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport runway.

Sirika equally used the period to hint of the government’s resolve to deal with any lawlessness that may be displayed towards government structures in any part of the airports across the country.

Reacting to the recent pulling down of some parts of the Enugu airport fence by an individual who claimed the fence encroached into his land, the minister declared: “The actions you (Governor Ugwuanyi) have taken and the response of an individual by destroying our structure under construction is commendable. The FG has given the authority to show how not to destroy the government property. We will ensure that these people will no longer take laws into their hands. I also thank the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for performing their duties and FAAN for giving the project all the attention it deserves. FAAN management has been given the mandate to ensure that periodic maintenance be carried out diligently so that we will not have to go through a painful experience of closure again.”

The minister appreciated the governor for constructing access roads to the location of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) facility within the airport saying: “A year and half ago, the facility was not installed but today it has been installed.”

He spoke on why the reopening of the airport was delayed saying: “While this contract was ongoing, there was a change of hands in the company handling this. It was sold to another entity altogether. We made sure that nothing stopped. I want to thank you Mr Governor because part of the challenges we had was the market which just for emphasis bothers on the safety of people coming in and out of the airport. We all remember when an airplane landed in the river in the US, the reason was that the airplane had a crash and had to land in the water. This is about safety. Because of safety issues, the governor was very passionate to move it. The free trade zone as well and many more.”

Among the dignitaries who graced the airport reopening were the executive governor of the state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, his counterpart at the labour ministry, Chris Ngige.

Also present were the National Assembly members adequately represented by both the Chairmen of Senate and House of Representatives Committees on aviation; Senator Adeyemi Smart, his counterpart in the lower chamber, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji and the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

Equally present were notable citizens from the South East which include: the Obi of Onitsha, His a Royal Highness Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe and the Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Victor Umeh.

The airport was closed for over one year until President Muhammadu Buhari’s approved ₦10 billion special intervention fund for the reconstruction of the collapsed runway of the Akanu Ibiam Airport and other facilities.

 

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