From Maurice Okafor,Enugu
The re-opening of Akanu Ibiam international airport Enugu,earlier scheduled before Easter this year is no longer feasible due to the prevailing corona virus disease.
The minister of aviation Hadis Sirika, who made the disclosure in Enugu,said even though the reconstruction is over ninety percent completed, the workers absconded from continuing work on the site in compliance with the preventive strategy of social distancing of contacting COVID-19.
Sirika gave the hints after inspecting the extent of work done so far at the airport, regretting what is remaining would have been completed within seven days,if the workers have continued.
He stated, “We are sad to announce today that because the workers who ought to be on site have to close down shop to go back to their families because of the covid-19, we will no longer continue. We had planned to surmount this problem; we had pushed as far as we can to defeat this problem and to deliver this project by Easter. We were on our way to achieving that, we needed only seven days to deliver this project unfortunately, the workers based on the advice of their families abandoned site’.
“As much as we would have loved to continue and deliver before Easter, we think that life is much more important. What we are trying to do here is to save life and create a new environment for safe operations and we will not in the process also lose other lives. The workers have taken the decision themselves, the governors of the southeast region had had dialogue with them, the company PW even though it had closed worldwide was willing to continue, we in the ministry were willing but in view of this, the workers said it is extremely difficult for them to continue with social distancing and in the circumstance, we will wait until the monster is conquered. We respect them, we respect their views, and this is an act of God. It was not planned and we support them and wish them well with their families”, he stated.
The aviation minister lamented that lots of effort put on ground to overcome challenges since the airport was closed to traffic last year. He stated that with the approval and release of the initial N10bllion by President Muhammadu Buhari, issues like quarry dust, asphalt, Bitumen, glass mesh for the runway, radio mast and relocation of a market were done to meet stated deadline.
He assured that remaining part of the project will be completed as soon as the corona virus disease in Nigeria is over by the contractor.