Story by Adesoji Aderogba
A group called Igbo Renaissance Forum, has queried the performances of three aviation ministers from the region between 2010 and 2015 following the closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The group noted that at different times during the tenures of Fidelia Njeze, Stella Oduah and Osita Chidoka as ministers in the sector, the government carried out extensive repairs of the airport’s runway but expressed surprise that the three ministers rather than work for the general interest of the South-East, deceived the entire people of the region.
The International Coordinator of the group, Nze Ugo-Akpe Onwuka in a statement said, “The Akanu Ibiam Airport project was executed in two phases; the first phase is the extension of the runway.
“The first phase was what former President Goodluck Jonathan himself commissioned and formally re-designated as an international airport.
“The second phase was the construction of a new apron and taxiway and the upgrade of the airfield lighting system to Category 11.
“It is rather befuddling how none of these individuals took a closer look at the issues that made Enugu Airport a death trap by aviation industry standards in less than six years, leading to this current shut down that has plunged the South-East deeper into economic repression.”
Onwuka posited that the current closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport was due to badly executed job by the contractor.
The group decried that over 50 days after the closure of the airport, there was no sign of any activity despite assurances by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, that the project would be completed by December 2019. Onwuka added, “As a pro-Igbo organisation committed to ensuring that we revive the true Igbo spirit, we have resolved to first take the questions surrounding the Akanu Ibiam International Airport to our kith and kin who were and are still in positions of authority.
“We also demand that the Government of Nigeria treat the repair and upgrade works at the airport like they did with other airports.
“We are using this medium to put our brothers and sisters who had 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.