Enugu Airport Reopens After 370 Days Closure as South East Leaders Commend Buhari

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Enugu Airport Reopens After 370 Days Closure as South East Leaders Commend Buhari
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

The federal government of Nigeria on Sunday commissioned the rehabilitated Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, for flight operations.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had closed the airport on August 24, 2019 for rehabilitation after its runway had become deplorable.

In his address at the inauguration on Sunday, President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, describes the airport reopening as a “promise kept.”

According to Buhari, the airport was important to the aviation industry as well as the people of the South-East because of its revenue base, noting that informed the concerted effort at delivering the airport on time.

The minister stated that the Buhari had shown commitment towards the infrastructural development of the South-East and the country at large by approving the sum of N10bn for the rehabilitation of the airport.

Sirika said, “With the airport reopening today, it is now open to local flights and on 5th September, International flights will resume as soon as we begin to allow them into the country.

“Despite 6 months delay due to COVID, today I had the honour of reopening the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. The rehabilitation includes runway, taxi way, perimeter road, fence, night landing equipment, ILS, emergency center, Pilot lounge etc.”

He further said he had released the sum of N1bn to ensure continuation of works at the International Terminal building and the Cargo terminal, in order to upgrade the airport to internal standards.

Sirika lauded the support of South-East governors who played key role in ensuring the success of the repair works done and reserved special praise for the governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for providing enabling environment as well as clearing obstacles that would have slowed the progress of the project.

In his remarks, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State who spoke on behalf of the South East Governors and other leaders of the zone, thanked President Buhari for expressly approving a special funding (N10 billion) for the rehabilitation of the Enugu airport as well as the special release of the fund.

Umahi also expressed gratitude to the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Sirika for displaying a special character worthy of emulation, in seeing that the project was realized.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State in his welcome address, thanked President Buhari for his unalloyed commitment to the infrastructural upgrade of the airport and disclosed that the Enugu State government in its determination to provide the enabling environment and needed support to ensure the quick completion of rehabilitation works undertook and provided the required support.

Ugwuanyi said the support includes, complete removal of all encroachment on the airport facility; removal and relocation of the 120-meter Enugu State Broadcasting Service TV/Radio Mast and Transmission Station; removal, demolition and relocation of the Orie Emene market; construction of a 1.3km asphalt road to the Very High Directional Radio Range/Distance Measuring Equipment (V.O.R/D.M.E) navigation facility at Emene; Provision of finance for the upgrade and refurbishment of existing toilet facility in the terminal building, among others.

Also, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said he never believed, “that what we are seeing today will happen.”

Nwodo appreciated Buhari for expressly releasing the required fund for the completion of the project for the good of the people.

He equally recognised the effort of Ugwuanyi at ensuring the swift delivery of the airport.

Meanwhile, Air Peace became the first commercial airline to land at the rehabilitated runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, on Sunday.

Onboard the flight which landed at exactly 1.30pm were ministers of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba.

Also on board were Senators Ike Ekweremadu, Uche Ekwunife, Chukwuka Utazi and some members of the House of Representatives including Nnoli Nnaji.

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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