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House of Reps seek presidential intervention in Enugu airport project

The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, sought the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure immediate commencement of rehabilitation work on the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

This is even as the South East caucus in the House, while briefing newsmen, expressed total displeasure with the alleged slipshod approach to the rehabilitation work by the Minister of Aviation, Hardi Sirika.

The House resolution followed a motion on matters of urgent public importance brought before it by Toby Okechukwu and thirteen others on the need to ensure speedy rehabilitation of the airport.

Toby Okechukwu, who is the deputy minority leader of the House, had informed the House that on August 24, 2019, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) closed the airport for rehabilitation works on the runway.

He told the House that during his meeting with the South East governors and stakeholders, when he visited Enugu, the Aviation Minister, Sirika, had affirmed that the airport’s runway rehabilitation would be completed by Christmas 2019.

However, he said it was alarming that after six weeks of closure, no rehabilitation or reconstruction work had begun at the airport.

He said there were even no indications that the contractor would mobilise to site any time soon.

The lawmaker expressed concern that the major arterial routes to other airports or leading to the South East had become dilapidated.

Okechukwu told the House that the December deadline was fast approaching but that no contractor was mobilised to site nor were funds released for the airport work.

He expressed worry that the airport closure had exposed the travelling public to avoidable inconveniences and frustrated their ease of doing business.

He said the funding model for the renovation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, would save Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, from protracted closure.

The lawmaker pointed out that the airport was critical to the safety, economic and social lives of most Nigerians and foreign travellers.

In a unanimous adoption of the motion, the House presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamilla, in its resolutions, further mandated its Committee on Aviation to interface with the aviation minister to ensure immediate commencement of works.

It also called on the Works and Housing Ministry to, in the interim, expedite action on repairs of the major roads leading to the alternative routes and airports to alleviate the suffering of members of the public.
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