Governor Adams Oshiomhole
The Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole has called on the Federal Government to install airfield lighting at the runway of the airport in Benin and other equipment that would allow for 24 hours air operations at the airport.
Oshiomhole made the request last week at the commissioning of the remodelled Benin airport terminal, which he said was transformed from a dilapidated facility to modern airport terminal that meets international standard.
The governor described the Benin airport as one of the oldest in the country, and expressed regrets that while there was increase in passenger movement, the airport facility was not expanded until the remodelling exercise carried out by the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.
Oshiomhole noted that those who keep pace with modernisation will fit in with the changing world, pointing out that it was not impassive for the public sector to upgrade airport infrastructure from time to time.
Governor said he admired the remodelling programme in the aviation sector, stating that any leader who was determined to bring a change would do it, notwithstanding the obstacles.
He also gave kudos to President Goodluck Jonathan, saying without his approval and encouragement, the Minister would not have succeeded in transforming the aviation sector. He observed that there was a great improvement at the rebuilt General Aviation Terminal (GAT) at the Lagos airport from what it used to be.
Chairman of Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodimma, also commended the efforts of the Minister and the President at transforming the aviation sector.
He said: “For 25 to 20 years the airport facilities were allowed to become dilapidated and decayed but today the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has shown that Jonathan is working. I commend FAAN, the Ministry of Aviation...if other sectors of the economy are working the way aviation is working we will be in paradise. We will continue to partner with the executive for the progress of Nigeria”.
Speaking with journalists, Oduah assured that Benin airport and other airports in country that do not have runway lighting would get them this year, adding that running a 24-hour operation was possible if the necessary equipment are provided.
She said government considered the unveiling of Benin airport significant because the remodelling of the Benin Airport terminal, more than any other airport in the country, reflects the true face of the Transformation Agenda of President Jonathan in the aviation industry.
“Anyone who knew the state of this airport terminal before its remodelling and compares it to what the terminal has become today cannot but agree that the country’s aviation industry is truly undergoing major transformation. It will therefore not be out of place to begin to refer to the Benin Airport as the true face of the transformation agenda in the aviation sector. An airport terminal that constituted an embarrassment to Nigerians by reason of its antiquated infrastructure has now become a thing of pride, not just to people of Edo state but to all Nigerians”, she said.
The Minister added: “This bears eloquent testimony to the commitment of our visionary leader and President Jonathan to reverse the decadence in the aviation industry, which is a veritable vehicle for rapid industrial and economic development in any country. Today’s commissioning ceremony is the third, in less than five months, for three airports, out of the eleven airports earmarked for completion under the first phase of the Airport Remodelling Programme, fashioned out by this administration to modernise all airports in the country”.