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…As FG says no fund to mobilize contractor
Leading socio-economic group, Igbo Renaissance Forum (IRF) has frowned at not just the ongoing delay in takeoff of repair works at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu, which was shutdown since August 24, 2019 for reconstruction of runway.
However, the anger of the group is coming at a time the Federal Government has indicated that there is yet, no fund to mobilize PW, the handling contractor.
In a statement signed by the International Coordinator, Nze Ugo-Akpe Onwuka (Oyi), the group decried that “For posterity sake, we would like to state that this current closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu is because of badly executed job by the same contractor, PW that has been awarded the contract again on Friday, the 13th of September, 2019.”
“The Igbo Renaissance Forum kicked off the day count campaign to draw attention of the world to the lackadaisical attitude from all the agencies to the mouthed repairs at the Enugu Airport few weeks back.
“As at today the 13th of October 2019, 50 days after shutting down the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and 30 days after signing the contract with the contractor, there is no sign of any activity for a job that the Minister for Aviation said would be done and handed over by December 2019.
“To worsen matters, it has become obvious from the utterances of the Ministry of Aviation and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria that no budgetary allocation was made for the repairs before going ahead to shut down the ONLY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT in the South East.
“As a Pro Igbo Organisation that is committed to ensuring that we revive the true Igbo spirit while re-engineering the psyche of Ndi Igbo, we have resolved to firstly take the questions sorrounding the Akanu Ibiam International Airport to our kith and kin who were and are still in positions of authority.
“We also demand that the Federal Government of Nigeria should treat the repair and upgrade works at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu like they did with other airports. It is unacceptable to be hearing of no funds after shutting down the airport and giving a time line that is fixed for December 2019 for completion.
“It is on record that the runway project at the Abuja International Airport was done within 6 weeks.
“Why is it 6 weeks and 6 days and we are still talking about going on bended knees for the needed funds to be approved?
“We are using this medium to put those our brothers and sisters who have in one way or the other had any dealings with the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and its repairs and upgrade on notice, to get themselves ready as we shall be calling on them to explain to Ndi Igbo what they know and how we got to this point.
“This Akanu Ibiam International Airport saga will birth a new beginning in holding our leaders responsible like never experienced before.
The group expressed worry on why a contractor that did several jobs at the airport could not have discovered the current lapses as at the time it was on duty at the airport.
IRF therefore expressed anger on the possibility of the airport not being fit to handle expected traffic towards the end of the year, saying the delay in resuming repair works at the airport is another model of South East marginalization by the current administration after all.
It would be recalled that the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation Hon. Nnolim Nnaji had few days before the closure of the airport on the 24th of August expressed concern over the planned closure of Enugu Airport, noting that it would have adverse effect on the socioeconomic well-being of the South East.
The lawmaker lamented that the closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport was coming at a time that travelling by road to the south East zone has become a nightmare due to the prevailing security challenges and horrible roads.
Hon. Nnolim Nnaji averred that there was something fundamentally wrong in the manner that the Enugu Airport runway collapsed, saying “By my investigation, a standard runway should have a life span of thirty years so if that runway could collapse under six years some people have to give us explanations”.
According to IRF, “Even though Hon. Nnolim Nnaji promised that the House Committee on Aviation would probe the mysterious and shocking collapse of the Enugu Airport runway, no action has been seen to this moment.
“We are however calling on the South East Governors to convene an urgent emergency meeting to find ways to get the job done and satisfactorily within the shortest possible time to save the region the economic losses and the rigors occasioned by the closure of the airport,” IRF added.
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