By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”THE Benin Monarch, Oba Erediauwa, weekend in Benin faulted the statement credited to him that he called for the closure of Benin airport.
The Benin monarch was alleged to have made the call as a rwesult of pollution from aircraft noise when the Board of Directors of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), led by the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Babatunde Omotoba, paid him a courtesy visit in his palace.
But in a statement in Benin, signed by Chairman of the Palace Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee, Chief Eduwu Ekhator Obasogie, said:Â â€œAt no time did His Royal Majesty imply or otherwise request for the closure of Benin Airport which has always and will continue to be our vital link to other parts of Nigeria and indeed the whole world.
“What the Omo Nâ€™ Oba said during the courtesy call on him by the NAMAÂ Board was that it would be of great benefitÂ for all Edo people if aircraft comingÂ to land in Benin City are re-routed to land through the Iyekokpa axis of the Benin Airport.â€
This, he further explained was to minimize the noise pollution caused by aircrafts as they descend very low across the City centre and over the Palace ground to the tarmac.
Chief Obasogie insisted the Benin Monarch would not have supported the idea of the closure of the Benin Airport, nor would he want investors in the tourism industry to quit the state.
Saying that the Oba was the 1st investor in Benin Kingdom, the Committee chairman said he could not have therefore supported th4e closure of one of the Federal government presence in the state and warned those behind the insinuation to desist from doing so.
It would be recalled that last week, controversies trailed the statement credited to the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Babalola Tokunbo that the Benin Airport would soon be closed by the government over complaints from communities bordering the airport and some individuals over noise pollution.