Magnus Eze, Enugu
As the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu is reopened on Sunday for domestic and international operations, an Igbo think tank, Nzuko Umunna, has poured encomiums on President Muhammadu Buhari for the speedy approval of N10 billion for the reconstruction of the facility.
The airport was shut for reconstruction on August 24, 2019.
The group also commended Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the South East Governors’ Forum and every other involved the project which experts described as a clear success story of good partnership.
A statement by Nzuko Umunna’s Coordinator, Ngozi Odumuko and Secretary, Paschal Mbanefo, noted that the reopening of the airport was indeed auspicious, as it will ameliorate the hardships hitherto faced by both local and international travellers and foster the ease of doing business.
Noting that the airport is the traditional gateway to the eastern heartland, the group also lauded the quality of work at the airport which has been adjudged by experts as being of international standard.
The group’s statement reads: ‘We also note the construction of facilities which had hitherto been lacking at the airport facility such as perimeter fencing and air field lighting for day and night operations. These facilities are bound to improve safety and security at the airport.
‘We must thank the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu for his hands-on oversight of the day-to-day construction as well as his counterpart at the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Capt. Fola Akinkuotu for ensuring seamless installation of brand new instrument landing systems at the airport.
‘The Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji went beyond the call of duty in ensuring the timely completion of the project. It is equally noteworthy that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and his Science and Technology counterpart, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu visited the airport to inspect the reconstruction. We commend them for their efforts.
‘There is no gainsaying that the South East Governors under the aegis of the South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) – ably led by Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. Dave Umahi – played a pivotal role in making the reconstruction and rehabilitation effort a reality. Also worthy of special mention is Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi whose uncommon commitment to the project was in bold relief.
‘It is instructive that Nzuko Umunna played a critical role in the design and construction effort. Not only was our “Nzuko Umunna Enugu Airport Intervention Committee” embraced by the South East Governors’ Forum in driving the project, the Forum graciously appointed the highly respected Chairman of our committee, Engr. Chris Okoye as Chairman of the “South East Governors’ Forum Akanu Ibiam International Airport Rehabilitation/Palliative Committee.” While thanking the SEGF for this groundbreaking partnership which has brought the success that we all celebrate today, we must especially thank Engr. Okoye and other members of the committees for their immense and selfless sacrifice towards berthing the reconstruction exercise.’