Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and ensure the immediate commencement of work at the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu, six weeks after its closure without rehabilitation or reconstruction.
At the resumption of plenary on Wednesday, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, moved a motion which was jointly sponsored by 13 other lawmakers from the South-east under matter of public importance on the need to ensure speedy rehabilitation of the airport.
He said on August 24, 2019, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) closed down the airport to allow rehabilitation works of the runway, adding that the Minisiter of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, visited Enugu and after meeting with the governors and stakeholders in South-east, affirmed that the rehabilitation would be completed by Christmas.
Okechukwu added: “Alarmed that six weeks after the closure of the airport, no rehabilitation or reconstruction work has begun at the airport even as there are no indications that the contractor would mobilise to site any time soon.”
The lawmaker also expressed concern that the major arterial routes leading to other alternate airports or leading to the South-east have dilapidated and burdens the travelling public.
Okechukwu lamented that in spite of the December 2019 deadline fast approaching, no contractor has been mobilised to the site and no fund released for the rehabilitation works.
He also expressed worry that the closure of the airport has exposed the travelling public to avoidable inconveniences and frustrated their ease of doing business.
The lawmaker said he was convinced that the funding model of the renovation of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Abuja would save Enugu airport from protracted closure, adding that the airport is critical to the safety, socio-economic lives of many Nigerians and foreign travellers.
Against this background, Okechukwu called on “Mr. President to intervene and ensure immediate commencement of work at the airport, and mandate the House Committee on Aviation to ensure immediate commencement of works.”
He equally called on the Ministry of Works and Housing at the interim to expedite repairs of the major roads leading to the alternative routes and airports to alleviate the suffering of the members of the public.