Youths of Imo airport host communities have appealed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to call heads of the various agencies operating at the airport to order over what they described as perennial diversion and denial of their rights.
The youths, who addressed newsmen through their President, Casmir Eke, after an enlarged executive committee meeting recently, declared they decided to reach out to the minister as a last gasp effort to arrest a badly deteriorating situation that may lead to breach of public peace if not quickly addressed.
Recalling their ugly experiences in the hands of the airport officials, the president accused them of completely denying and appropriating their legitimate dues in the over two decades that the airport has been operational, pointing out that since flight activities began at the airport, none of the agencies have given one single graduate employment to an indigene of the area.
He disclosed the communities have also faced similar raw deal in the area of junior cadre jobs.
The youth leader also lamented the total lack of social amenities within the airport communities, particularly roads and electricity.
According to him, the construction of the airport came with a lot of sacrifices on their part, which included relinquishing a greater portion of their ancestral lands and closure of strategic roads linking the three host sister communities to the airport, namely Logara, Umuohiagu and Obiangwu.
The sacrifices, though difficult, he opined, were eventually made following promises of adequate compensation and provision of better infrastructure by the authorities.
Eke said unfortunately, the peoples of the communities have been cut off from one another for over 20 years, but that reaching out to the outside world has become extremely frustrating, that the people now spend three hours on a journey that ordinarily should have taken 20 minutes.
“We appeal to the aviation minister to rise to the occasion and use his office and power to address the unethical, unprofessional and unpatriotic conduct and acts of officials at the airport, as those untoward tendencies are painting the Federal Government black before the people,” he said.