The House of Representatives, on Thursday, urged the Federal Government to grant operational rights to Bayelsa airport which was recently completed by the State Government at the cost of N60 billion.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion brought under urgent national importance sponsored by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu; Hon. Peter Akpatason; Hon. Toby Okechukwu; Hon. Gideon Gwani; Hon. Fred Obua and Hon. Preye Oseke.
In his lead debate, Hon. Elumelu, who applauded the efforts of the Bayelsa State government on the completion of the N60 billion airport in February 2019, noted that the airport has a runway of 3.7 kilometres (one of the longest in the country) and have a capacity of providing about 2,000 formal and informal jobs for the indigenes of the state.
He explained that the airport was constructed with a whopping sum of N60 billion of taxpayers money and it has some of the best and latest equipment in the aviation industry.
“From February 2019, when the airport was completed till date, the National Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has refused to grant the airport operational rights and permit for a smooth take-off, thereby causing the indigenes untold hardships and massive revenue loss to the state.
“The House is aware further that the continuous denial of a permit for a smooth takeoff has stalled the rapid development which the airport is meant to bring and also depriving about 2,000 indigenes of the state employment opportunities.
“The House is concerned that to travel to and from Bayelsa, you have to either go to Omaha in Rivers State or Sam Mbakwe airport in Imo state, which can take nearly 2 hours when the road is in good condition, this is completely unnecessary and a waste of time and scarce resources since Bayelsa airport has been completed.
“The House is further concerned that if urgent action is not taken to grant operational rights to the airport, Bayelsans will continue to suffer the ease of movement in and out of the state, the indigenes will be further deprived of the over 2,000 jobs the airport will make available to them and also reduce the business opportunities a functional airport would be availing the state.
In the bid to fast-track the process, the House urged Federal Government to direct NCAA and Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to immediately grant Bayelsa airport the operational right.
In the same vein, the House mandated its committee on Aviation to follow up and ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.