Magnus Eze, Enugu
Contrary to report submitted to South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF), projecting early completion of ongoing construction at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, the contactor handling the work has said that it was not possible. Project Manager of PW Nigeria Limited, handling the construction of the runway, Mr. Mahbub Khan, has said that many obstacles were inhibiting faster reconstruction of the runway.
He told House of Representatives members from Enugu State led by the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, on supervision of work at the airport that insufficient asphalt plants, rainy season and some other technical issues were the challenges militating against earlier completion of the runway.
Khan, however, said that about 75 per cent of the work has been done, explaining that it will take about 10 weeks (around September), barring disruption of rains before the runway will be completed.
“There’s problem of manpower, we have limited manpower. Even though we have resumed work but all the workers are not back. Rain is a challenge too because materials are wet all the time and we have to allow them dry. The lockdown also is a big problem because of the checkpoints; so there’s delay in materials arriving site,” he said. The third interim report submitted to the Governors on May 24, 2020, by the Chairman, Airport Refurbishment/Palliative Works Committee, Chris Okoye, had stated that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the runway will be completed by end of this month.
However, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) official supervising the job disagreed with the contractor on the level of work done. He insisted that not more than 65 per cent had been achieved and also complained that the contractor was yet to avail them with the programme of work.
Regardless, Okechukwu expressed satisfaction with the work on ground at the airport, even as he urged the contractor to state any challenges it was facing, so that they could approach government for intervention.