From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday raised the alarm over what it described as the decay and a looming disaster at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. It said the looming disaster, if not immediately nipped in the bud, will endanger lives of air travellers.
In the same vein, the Senate has mandated its Committee on Aviation to investigate the circumstances surrounding the award of contracts for renovation of airports in the country and shoddy jobs that have resulted in the sorry-state of affairs of the various airports.
The Senate arrived at the decision after Senator Chukwuka Utazi from Enugu State moved a motion tagged: “The need for urgent renovation of the facilities and infrastructure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.”
It called on the Federal Ministry of Aviation and other relevant authorities to, as a matter of urgency, repair the damaged parts and renovate facilities at the airport and other airports in the country which require such attention, to reduce the dangers to which users of the airports are exposed.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who also hails from Enugu, lamented that whenever it rained, flood takes over major parts of the airport.
He added that the runway of the airport, which was upgraded to the status of an international airport, on August 24, 2013, is bad and has, on different occasions, damaged planes.
Describing the state of the airport, Utazi said debris and wind-blown garbage litter the inside of the buildings, thereby, putting passengers, staff and other users of the airport in danger.
“Considering the South-East is the last, among all the geo-political zones to have an international airport, this development is disheartening and would not only expose users of the airport to harm, but also discourage international airlines and other interests from using the airport.
“The current dilapidated state of the facilities and the infrastructure of the airport is a huge disincentive to the use of the airport and endangers the lives of the people who use it, besides being a bad testament to the standard of infrastructure in Nigeria’s critical aviation sector,” Utazi said.