From Maurice Okafor, Enugu
The Akanu Ibiam International airport, Enugu was yesterday formally re opened for flights. The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the official commissioning of the revitalized runway system and other facilities to aid international flight, said local flights are to commence immediately.
The airport was shut down in August 2019 due to insecurity of lives of passengers based on dilapidated runway and other facilities by the aviation ministry. But the aviation minister assured that it’s revitalization process especially the extension of the runway to aid international flight will be completed in one year, as President Buhari approved a total sum of ten billion naira for its revitalization process Speaking at the occasion held within the local wing of the airport, Sirika said the Airport was so important to the aviation industry as well as the people of the South East because of its revenue base and that was why everything humanly possible was done to see that the Airport reopened in time.
The minister however said that in no distant time, international flights will follow suit immediately the COVID-19 pandemic eases off.
He commended the South East governors for their support in ensuring that the repair works were carried out as quickly as possible and thanked the governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi especially for removing the obstacles that would have hindered the progress of the project.
In his speech, Governor Ugwuanyi stressed he weathered the storm in ensuring the basic environmental standard of an international airport as recommended by the Federal airports authority of Nigeria(FAAN,) are met. He disclosed that the state government destroyed a total of 25 bungalows and 405 market stalls at Orie Emene psve way for the deserved international standard.
Speaking at the occasion, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo said he never believes, “that what we are seeing today will happen.”
Nwodo who was so happy that the airport was reopened eventually thanked President Buhari for approving N10 billion for the project. He also thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi for his efforts in making sure that the project became a reality.
Several Igbo leaders including state governors, serving ministers members of the national assembly who spoke at the event commended President Buhari for making the dream of an international airport in the South East zone a reality.