Reps calls for immediate commencement of work at Enugu Airport

Members of the House of Representatives called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate commencement of work at the International Airport of Akanu Ibiam, Enugu.

The lawmakers made the appeal by adopting a motion brought by the Deputy Minority leader, Toby Okechukwu, and 11 other lawmakers on matters of urgent national importance.

In September, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)  announced that the reconstruction of the runway at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, had begun.

For the rehabilitation of its runway, FAAN also declared on August 24 the closure of the airport, which is the only international airport in the South-East region.

After the airport was closed, Ethiopian Airlines diverted international flights to Port Harcourt International Airport in Rivers.

Similarly, domestic flights were diverted to the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, the Port Harcourt Airport, and the Asaba Airport in Delta.

Mr Okechukwu noted that the honorable Minister of Aviation, Hardi Sirika, had visited Enugu and, following a meeting with the governors and stakeholders in the South East, said that the reconstruction would be completed by Christmas 2019.

He said he was concerned that, six weeks after the closing of the airport, no renovation or repair work had started at the airport, as there was no sign that the contractor would return to the airport anytime soon.

He expressed concern that the arterial routes leading to alternative airports or to the south-east would be decayed and burdened the traveling public.

“In spite of the December 2019 deadline which is fast approaching, no contractor has been mobilised to the site and no fund released for the rehabilitation works.

 “The closure of the airport has exposed the travelling public to avoidable inconveniences and frustrated their ease of doing business.”

The deputy minority leader who was chairman of the house committee on works in the 8th assembly said the funding model for the renovation of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja would save Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from protracted closure.

“Akanu Ibiam International Airport is critical to the safety, economic and social lives of most Nigerians and foreign travellers,” he stated.

After adopting the motion described as straightforward by the speaker, the House further mandated its Aviation Committee to communicate with the Minister of Aviation to ensure the immediate commencement of work

In the meantime, the legislature also called on the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to speed up the reconstruction of major roads leading to alternative routes and airports in order to ease the suffering of members of the public.

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