Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
Ahead of the planned reopening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu on August 30, 2020, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has immediately relocated to Enugu with his officials and aides.
The minister’s relocation to Enugu, accordingly, is to monitor the finishing touches being done by the contractors handling the runway reconstruction and installation of facilities at the airport.
In a statement made available to journalists in Abuja yesterday by the Ministry’s Director of Press, James Odaudu, it was learnt that “the relocation is also to ensure that nothing stands in the way of the planned reopening.”
There have been apprehensions about the possibility of the resumption of flights at the airport as planned, as a result of the recent ‘unwarranted and ill-advised pulling down of about two kilometres stretch of the perimeter fence of the airport by an individual claiming ownership of the land on which the fence was raised’. The minister has, however, given the assurance that everything possible was being done to ensure that the people of the South-east region, who are the major beneficiaries of the project, begin to enjoy flight operations at the airport from on Sunday.
Sirika also commended the governors of the South-east states, especially Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, for joining efforts with the Ministry of Aviation to ensure a successful return of activities at the airport.
The minister, during the earlier rehabilitation of the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, had similarly relocated to Kaduna for a number of days to ensure a seamless operation of flights at the Kaduna airport which then served as an alternate to the shut Abuja airport.
The Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu was shut down in August 2019 to enable the federal government reconstruct the runway which had become so dilapidated that the aviation experts described it as an accident waiting to happen.