From Olanrewaju Lawal,Birnin Kebbi
Kebbi State government has said that there was no iota of truth in a rumour going round the state that the State Government was planning to sell the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport,Kebbi State.
Commissioner for Works, kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Chika Ladan who made the clarification while briefing newsmen in his office,Birnin Kebbi, noted that all the Airports, in the country, Aviation sector, are in the exclusive list of the Federal Government and there was no way any state government could converted them to their own.
Ladan explained that, after the completion of the Airports by the States government, the federal government have taken over ten of such airports in the country which include that of Ekiti,Gombe, Anambra,Nassarawa,Kebbi states among others.
He said: “the second issue is the issue of this Airport, because there is insinuation in the town that the state government had sold Sir Ahmadu Bello International airport. I don’t know how the story came about that the airport had been sold, to whom? I want to use this occasion to tell you the true story of the airport.
“The aviation sector is in the exclusive list of the federal government. Any state that must construct an Airport, must get a clear approval of the federal government to construct the airport. So, once you construct the airport, you only have the manager, but the technical crew handling the airport, are federal government staff. NCAA, NIMA, these are all posted to the airport because you don’t have the right to appoint. And the federal government agencies regulate the airport.
“Since they are there, from time to time, federal government decided to take over these airports from the states. We only agreed to allow federal government to take over the airport because of management issue and other.
“So, our own airport fall in that group. Federal government took over our airport. It is not the issue of sales, federal government took over the airport of Kebbi State. And we demanded that the amount we used in the construction of the airport be refunded to the state. And that was approved by the Mr. President sometimes on March,2020. The letter sent stated that the president had approved the refund of N16.025b to kebbi state government been amount expended on the Sir Ahmadu Bello international Airport. So this was the issue.
“ We requested for the refunded because federal government took over the airport and we are to seek for refunded by the federal government. The process of the refunding is still on and as soon as the budget is implemented, then, the state government would be refunded”.
The Commissioner added that: “ last two weeks, the Aviation people came here, because they wanted to certify the airport as we presented it. They all visited the Airport, they all consented to what we said about the Airport was true. And that we were entitled to be refunded by the Federal Government. The process of our refund is ongoing. So, it is not the issue of selling the airport.
“ Not only our airport are being taking over. If you recall, during the budget defense of the ministry of aviation, they said that ten (10) Airports are being taking over by the federal government which were included in the 2021 budget. They mentioned airports like Anambra, Ekiti, Benue, Nassarawa, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kebbi , Dutse and Edo state. These are being taking over by the federal government. So, the issue of Dutse and kebbi state have been concluded and they are going to be refunded.
“It is not issue of selling the Airport, the federal government has taken over these airports because it is on exclusive list of the federal government. We are being refunded; we are not going to sell the airport to anybody.
“Just like the roads, if you constructed the federal government roads, equally, you will be refunded. I want to tell you that when this government came in, state government rehabilitated Koko-Dabai-Mahuta road, Malando-Ngaski-Warrah road, were rehabilitated in 2015. We have been at the advanced stage of being refunded. It is being processes at the Federal Ministry of Works and it would be represent to the Mr. President again for the approval. The amount we are expecting is amount to N7billion”, he said.