It is unfortunate that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, is in the news again for the wrong reasons. The runway repair work scheduled to commence over six weeks ago did not actually take off. Why? The Federal Government and the Ministry of Aviation are reportedly not yet ready to do the work either due to lack of funds, as claimed in certain quarters, or lack of the political will to do the right thing at the right time or all of the above.
Government’s explanation on the delay is not believable. Government should come up with a more convincing argument why the work is yet to start. Before the airport was closed for the repair work, air passengers going to Enugu and other adjoining states have contended with what pilots dubbed ‘bumpy landing’.
Therefore, when the federal government and its aviation authorities mooted the idea of repairing the dilapidated runway, air travellers heaved a deep sigh of relief that better days are, indeed, coming. Alas, the better days appear to have been postponed indefinitely as no work has actually commenced at the airport and there are no signs that any maintenance work will soon start on it. It is like waiting for the mythical Godot who will never surface.
Air travellers to Enugu are now compelled to use the Sam Mbakwe Cargo Airport, Owerri, the Asaba Airport or the Port Harcourt Airport. Using the aforementioned airports lengthens the duration of the travel and inconveniences the passengers. Those who cannot afford such ardous journey risk the dangers of using the Benin/Ore highway which has witnessed cases of kidnappings and killings in recent months.
The Federal Government should save air travellers to Enugu these nightmares by repairing the runway of Enugu Airport forthwith. It does not take ages or rocket science to make such routine repairs. It didn’t take that long to repair the Abuja Airport runway some time ago as well as the Lagos Airport. As we approach the December period, the pressure on road will be too much. This is going to compound the traffic on Niger Bridge, Onitsha.
While that bridge cannot sustain heavy vehicular traffic at a time, work on the second Niger Bridge cannot be said to be encouraging. In fact, the fate of the work on the second Niger Bridge is hanging. The second Niger Bridge is about the most politicized bridge in Nigerian political history.
Since 1999, the construction of the second Niger Bridge has featured in the gaze of every administration. Many former presidents played politics with the bridge. Olusegun Obasanjo promised on that bridge and did not do much. Umaru Yar’Adua did the same thing. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan made stronger promise yet failed to do it.
President Muhammadu Buhari also promised to build that bridge. Now that he is in his last term, it is hoped that he will fulfill his promise on the bridge. Regardless of what our leaders said on the second Niger Bridge, it is still a waiting game.
The Federal government must show serious commitment in the repair of the Enugu Airport runway. It should henceforth mobilize workers at the airport and ensure that the work is finished before the yuletide season when Owerri Airport which has no night landing facilities, cannot handle the volume of air traffic to the South East. Since Enugu Airport is the major air gateway to the South East, the government should deploy adequate funds and expertise to ensure that the repair work commences immediately and done very well. The dithering over the repair of the airport runway says a lot about federal government’s attitude towards infrastructural development of the South East geo-political zone. There is need for such unfortunate narrative to change.
President Muhammadu Buhari, as the House of Representatives advised, should wade into the matter and ensure the commencement of the rehabilitation of the airport
Rampaging randy lecturers
It took the BBC undercover operation to expose some randy teachers in the University of Lagos as well as dismantle its ‘cold room’ where female students are reportedly touched by randy lecturers who left their core duty of teaching and research to luxuriate at the female anatomy. A similar operation was done at the University of Ghana, Legon, which exposed the antics of some sex-for-marks teachers.
While it is good that the Unilag authorities have closed its cold room and suspended the affected teachers, the next line of action is to diligently prosecute them. The Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, did exactly that and its randy professor bagged two years behind bars instead of the five rounds of hot sex he demanded from a female postgraduate student in order to give her a pass mark in a course she allegedly failed.
The sex-for-marks phenomenon is indeed a growing epidemic in the nation’s higher institutions but more in the universities. At the receiving end of this pandemic are the female students, especially the young and beautiful ones. At times, beautiful married women are not spared the sex ordeal in the hands of randy professors. To stop the campus sex predators from having a field day on our campuses, the National Assembly should enact a law against any form of sexual harassment of female students in any school in Nigeria or place of work. The law should be stringent enough to deter would be sex predators. The university should be a teaching and learning environment and never a place to perpetuate sexual immorality.
The National Universities Commission (NUC) should make students’ assessment of lecturers as a pre-condition for the promotion of university teachers as done abroad. This is the practice in the United States. Making students’ assessment part of the promotion of any university teacher will make randy teachers to sit up and face their duty of teaching and research seriously. The Federal government should ban all cold rooms in all institutions of higher learning in the country.
There should be offices in all institutions where cases of sexual harassment should be promptly reported and acted upon. Any university teacher found wanting should be penalized. Each Nigerian university and indeed any other tertrary institution must come up with straingent measures to sterm the rising tide of sexual harassment in Nigeria universities , polytechnics, colleges of ed ucation and a host of others. The girl child education and gender parity should not be made to suffer because of randy lecturers.