By Victor Ogunje
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has handed over the construction of the state Agro-Allied Cargo Airport 3.2 kilometres runway to the main contractor to commence work.
The governor, while handing over the site to the contractor, CCECC Nigeria Limited, late last Monday, described the project as a promise made and kept for the overall development of the state.
Fayemi had earlier last Monday presented a cheque of N500 million to about 700 landowners whose lands were acquired for the airport project. The event was held at the conference hall at the Governor’s office.
He said the construction of the airport runway pavement would be completed within 15 months in line with the timeline agreed with the contractors.
Represented by the state Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, at the handing over of the site to the contractor, the governor said payment of compensation to the farmers and owners of economic trees on the land acquired for the airport project would continue until all affected landowners receive their compensation.
Describing the project as a milestone for his administration and the people of the state, Fayemi noted that the importance of the agro-allied cargo airport to serve as fastest movement of agricultural products to international market cannot be overemphasised.
He explained that Ekiti as an agrarian state is blessed with hardworking farmers and investors who are ready to produce in commercial quantities once there is an assurance that their goods would reach both local and international markets without delay.
According to him, “No doubt, Ekiti is a landlocked state that borders with other landlocked states like Kwara, Osun, Edo, except Ondo that has sea. The situation has made it difficult for our people in Ekiti State and the neighbouring states to transport goods, most especially agricultural products, to both local and international markets.
“The establishment of this agro-allied cargo airport will in no small measure improve the socio-economic development of our dear state when completed.”
The governor also canvassed the support of the Ekiti people at home and abroad for the completion of the project, charging the contractor to execute the job with utmost professionalism.
The Technical Adviser on the Airport Project, Air Vice Marshal Adeniyi Ojuawo (rtd), said the airport is a legacy project of the Fayemi administration, and one that would change the face of the state economy.
Also, the state Commissioner for Works, Mr. Adesola Adebayo, said the design and bill of engineering measurement of the airport project were expertly scrutinised in accordance with the requirement and standard of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).