From Paul Orude, Bauchi
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed has pledged to develop the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport in Bauchi into a cargo area and hub of the North East.
The governor made the assurance on Wednesday at the airport during the ceremony to flag off Aero Contractors’ Bauchi route flight.
‘We have already discussed with India and other investors who want to come and built something here,’ the governor said.
‘We are leveraging on the federal government programme that will create Bauchi Terminal as Corgo terminal for agriculture business,’ he added.
The governor expressed gratitude to Aero Contractors for coming to the state, assuring the airline of maximum support.
‘As a country, as a community, we are always trying to build human capacity, a human capital that recognises potentials in investment, opening up communities, states, local governments.
‘I think Captain Mahmud has stood out as one of the best aviation businessmen that without our own inkling or anything, he decided to carry out, as a company, their due diligence on Bauchi. We are really grateful for that.
‘They are bringing the business community in Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Plateau because we intend by this providence to make Bauchi the hub of the North East.”
Governor Mohammed thanked Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika for recognising the Bauchi International Airport as the hub for the North East.
‘Aero Contractors, we are really assuring you that you will not regret this adventure of coming here. Whatever it takes, we will do everything that we have to do to make sure that this fraternity that you have established is given some inch of profitability in a commercial manner,’ he said.
‘I assure you that our security in Bauchi is good and the business climate is good and we will make sure that all government offices and travels would be tailored towards making sure you are given patronage.’
The governor called on governors of neighbouring states to take advantage of the initiative by Aero Contractors.
‘Now you can go to Yobe in one and a half hours, Jigawa in one and a half hours, Jos in one hour and even Taraba here in one and a half hours; so, naturally it is the best place to be, and I assure you that we will develop this place into a cargo area,’ he said.
‘We thank Aero Contractors for this spirit of brotherhood and we will not take you for granted; we will make sure we do everything as a government to keep you afloat,’ he stressed.
The Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Captain Abdullahi Mahmud, said the company chose Bauchi because of its strategic location and importance to the North East.
Mahmud, whose plane landed at Bauchi airport at 10:06 am in company with former Aviation Minister Femi Fani Kayode, said: ‘Today marks our beginning of flights into Bauchi State, Bauchi state flight was chosen based on our own due diligence. We look at commercial activities and Bauchi historically is the capital of the northeastern states.
‘Being the capital of the northeastern state, naturally, you will want to start flights in the North East. I think Bauchi State stands the chance to be the first. Governor Bala Mohammed is unrelenting in ensuring that Bauchi State is developed into a commercial centre,’ he said.