Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Secretary to Ebonyi State Government (SSG), Dr. Kenneth Ugbalah, has blamed the lack of communication and understanding between government and host communities as responsible for the opposition to the establishment of critical projects in some local government areas.
Ugbalah said the government of Governor David Umahi was committed to the development of the state. He, however, lamented that some of the policies and projects of government designed to benefit the people were resisted. He listed the Ebony airport as one of the projects that suffered a setback due to protest from host communities.
Ugbalah stated this in Abakaliki while speaking on the face-off between the government and the people of Umuezoka Umuoghara and Okeleru in Ezza North Local Government Area following the decision to commence the construction of an airport in the area.
“When good things are coming, some people, especially the locals who don’t know the economic importance of the project will oppose it. Some of the issues are caused by communication gap. Let me say that I am from Ezza nation and the airport is just close to this community. Ezza people didn’t say they don’t want an airport. What happened was a communication gap, and it is being addressed.”
Ugbalah said there was hope of the continuation of the project as those who took the government to court over the airport project had agreed to withdraw the suit.
“The issues of the communities not being happy with the project or some of them taking government to court is being addressed. That was the issue that we held a meeting to resolve, yesterday,” he said.
The government earlier in the year, had secured regulatory approvals from the Federal Government and other aviation agencies for the international airport, but the host communities had kicked against siting the project on their land.