State governors urged to explore FG’s airports concession plan

As many governors across the country continue to embark on the wasteful enterprise of constructing airports for their states, a key player in the sector has advised the governor’s to channel such efforts keying into cooperating with neighbouring states to explore opportunities available in the federal governments’s plans to concession such airports.

Speaking on how many of such state airports despite the huge public funds sunk into their construction have been overtaken by weeds, the Managing Director of Centurion Security Services and a member of Aviation Round Table Safety Initiative (ASRTI), Group Captain John Ojikutu, retired, advised the governors to pay attention to projects that would benefit the generality of their people.

According to Ojikutu, “States without airports would always desire they have one not as a necessity, but because their contemporaries have. There are areas in many states in Nigeria that deserve attention that would benefit the greater number of citizens more than an airport.”

Citing Ekiti State in particular, that is presently nursing the ambition of constructing an airport, Ojikutu declared: “Ekiti State for instance planning for one should take better advantage of the Akure Airport than building another just about 30/40 minutes drive away from the state capital. A tolled express road from the capital to Akure will give more revenue earnings annually to the state than an airport that would serve less than 100,000 passengers the Akure airport is serving annually.

“If the airport will be built for agro transportation, what are the agric produce being projected for transportation and where are their destination. The six major airports have a total of about 200,000 metric tons of cargo  traffic annually, how many of these are destined to Ekiti? Total outbound and inbound passenger traffic at Akure airport annually is about 100,000, how many of this figure is from Akure? The total air passengers’ figures annually transiting through Nigeria’s 22 airports have not gone above 16m in the last 20 years; how many of these is Ekiti targeting?

“What is applicable to Ekiti is same to Osun state. Against the Federal Government’s plan to concession the nation’s airports, my advice to the two states are; Ekiti should work with Ondo to get the concession of Akure airport and develop it together for the benefit of their states, while Oyo and Osun states should do same with the Ibadan airport. Ekiti and Osun should construct toll roads respectively to link Akure and Ibadan airports.

“The City of New York owns the JFK airport in New York State as well as the LaGuardia airport in New Jersey, Connecticut. We can begin to cultivate such cooperation among states in Nigeria. My advice is for states to cooperate to buy into the FG planned concessions of the airports.

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