By Ignatius Okorocha and Gift Chapi Odekina
The two chambers of the National Assembly are to probe the deplorable state of the runway of Enugu international Airport and the contract for its upgrade awarded by the Federal Government and the Wednesday alleged police assault on Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose.
The Senate said on Thursday that it had resolved to investigate the design of resurfacing of the airport three years after the completion of contract award.
It however called on the Ministry of Aviation to immediately commence the resurfacing and reconstruction of the runway of the airport.
The lawmakers also directed the authorities concerned to extend the length of runway of the Enugu Airport.
Moving the motion on the need to reconstruct the runway, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, said that the condition of the runway had become so bad that pilots now tell passengers to pray when the plane lands.
He added that pilots also now urged passengers who could influence the reconstruction of the runway to forestall accidents to do so.
He described the runway as filled with “potholes and cracks making take-off and landing a bumpy and frightening experience.”
He said the technical appraisal showed that “due to high water table of the airport, water percolates and gets trapped between upper asphalt and bottom concrete and this retention of water weakens asphalt and create potholes.”
In his contribution, Senator Bala Na’Allah, an aviation expert, described the airport in its present form as technically unsafe.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia South) said that three years ago the airport was shut down for a long for the upgrade and repairs of this same runway, adding that, “so as much as we are looking at how to reconstruct the runway, there must be investigation on who actually did what in that airport because I do not think that an upgrade of a runway should last between 10 to 15 years.”
Senator Paulker Emmanuel (PDP Bayelsa) noted that leaving the runway is not good for the nation’s image, adding that its present state posed a great danger to international carriers which use the airport.
In his remarks, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, said the South East Caucus in the National Assembly had met with President Muhammadu Buhari over the state of the airport and had thought it would have been upgraded by now going by the concerns shown by the President.
Reps to investigate alleged police assault on Fayose
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has mandated its relevant committees to investigate both the remote and immediate causes of Wednesday’s police disruption of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP’s) rally in Ekiti State, where Governor Ayo Fayose was allegedly assaulted and injured.
The House which condemned the action, described as “repressive, uncivil and unconstitutional” and called on President Buhari to cause the Nigeria Police to apologise to Nigerians, as well as elect to be civil in their actions to all citizens.
The House also asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that tomorrow’s governorship election in Ekiti is conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.
This followed a motion of urgent National importance by Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf and Hon. Kingsley Chinda.
Yusuf described as worrisome the attitude of the police, as well as the reason given for disrupting the rally on grounds that PDP members needed to obtain permit from the police to hold political campaigns and rallies, when it was yet three days to an election.
He added that campaigns are legally permitted for up to 24 hours to the time of an election by the Electoral Act.
Hon. Aminu Suleiman who opposed the motion drew the wrath of some members when he described Fayose as one the best actors in Nollywood. “The incident he (Fayose) portrayed yesterday (Wednesday) did not happen,” Suleiman said, noting that the governor only acted the scene.
When the motion was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, majority of the lawmakers voted in its favour.