By Naomi UZOR
The Enugu Chamber of Commerce,Industry, Mines andÂ Agriculture(ECCIMA) asked the federal authority to construct a second runway at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu State while allowing the existing runway to continue to provide air services to the teeming air travellers from the zone instead of the planned shut down of the airport for twelve months.
The President of ECCIMA, Sir Okechukwu Nwadinobi, who made the call on the Federal Government , Tuesday in Lagos, during a courtesy visit to Vanguard Media Limited to herald the Chamberâ€™s forthcoming 21st Enugu International Trade Fair, said that the chamber welcomes the upgrading of facilities and development at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport by the Federal Government but wished that a second runway be constructed at the airport instead of closing the only one in existence as the closure of the airport for twelve months would crippled the economy of the South-East because the airport remains the major gateway to the South East.
Nwandinobi, who led ECCIMA Council Team, said â€œWe wish to reiterate our deep concern on the implications of the closure of the airport since February 10, 2010 which will last for twelve months to allow for the expansion of the runway . We have noted that this will further cripple the economy of the South-East, as the Akanu Ibiam International Airport remains a major gateway to the East.
With the bad state of roads in the zone, and absence of rail transport system, our businessmen and women have no alternative as the nearest airport is more than 2 hours away to catch a 45 minutes flightsâ€ he stated.
Represented by 2nd Deputy President, Prof. Ikechukwu Nwosu, he urged the Federal Government and the Stateâ€™s Governor, Sullivan Chime, and other stakeholders to rise to the occasion and ensure that the proposed runway extension is carried out in a way that will not disrupt regular flight operations and stifle business activities.
Speaking further, he told Vanguard that ECCIMA has concluded all arrangements to host this yearâ€™s International Trade fair, for the first time, at the permanent site of the trade fair.
He disclosed that the theme for the 2010 fair which has been scheduled to hold from Friday 19th – Monday 29th March, 2010, is â€œEconomic Recovery and Development through Public-Private Partnershipâ€.
â€œThe theme has been carefully and thoughtfully chosen to critically appreciate the level of achievements or successes recorded in our efforts as a nation to wriggle us out of the ravaging economic crises through the Public-Private Partnership strategy for recovery,â€ he stated. Despite the fact that there are challenges facing us in hosting the fair at the permanent site, we are determined to make this fair the most successful in the history of Enugu International Trade Fair.