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S’East business leaders decry abandonment of repair work at Enugu Airport
Contrary to the assurance of the Katsina State-born Minister of Aviation Capt. Hadi Sirika who announced that work will start as soon as the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu is shut down, today September 30, 2019 makes it 36 days on but there is nothing on ground to show any form or repair work.
Business Hilights recalls that on August 24, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had announced the closure of the airport, which is the only international airport in the south-east region for the reconstruction of the runway.
The Federal Government had made it clear that it closed down the facility to save life and was ready to resume the rehabilitation of the runway after shut down, but the corporate affairs manager of the FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed none takeoff of repair activities recently.
As part of fallouts of the airport closure, international flights run by Ethiopian Airlines and several local air travels were diverted to Port Harcourt International Airport in Rivers and Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport (SMICA), Owerri.
Yakubu, who was silent on why work has not started more than one month on, said “Work is yet to begin on the runway but it will soon, once the processes are concluded.”
Though she was further economic with words on the meaning of processes, South East business leaders who spoke with Business Hilights South East Bureau chief, threatened to link the official delay to marginalization.
Some of them said what was frustrating the resumption of repairs at the only International Airport in the geopolitical region is linked to the official underuse of eastern seaports of Warri, Port Harcourt, Calabar and even the none concessioning of Onitsha River Port.
They recalled that during the 2015 presidential election campaign, the currently embattled Vice president met with business leaders in the zone and assured Federal Government readiness to concession the Onitsha River Port as soon as APC wins the election.
However, 2015 to 2019 administration has come and gone under the same APC and nothing is seemed to be happening even as the same party has won another election in early 2019 for a second term of office.
It would be recalled that towards the last lap of former president Goodluck Jonathan administration, Federal Government spent a whooping N5.6bn to fix the River Port and was in the process of concessioning it before it lost election. Since then till today, the present government under Muhammadu Buhari is yet to activate the River Port which analysts believed would drive eastern businesses.