By Dennis Agbo & Chinedu Adonu
ENUGU—THE Federal Government has announced it will demolish more structures to give way for full internationalisation of Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu.
Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, made the disclosure after a facility inspection around the airport, yesterday.
He disclosed that the Federal Government has released N1.7 billion for construction work to continue at the international wing of the airport, noting that more money would be made available when the 2018 budgetary provision is released for completion of work.
He listed the offending property to include the Enugu Empower Free Trade Zone, the Orie Emene Market, communication masts belonging to a television and radio stations, residential buildings as well as fencing of the airport.
Sirika who lamented the level of encroachment at the Enugu airport, stated that the runway was hampered by encroachment, lamenting that people willingly set up structures along the runways.
“Government decided to expand the runway from 2.5 kilometres to 3 kilometres to accommodate more international flights and cargoes, but stopped midway because people built within 100 meters on the runway. We need to dam the river to enable us use the water to service the airport.
“The Orie Emene market is a security threat. There is an abattoir in the market that attracts vultures which portends danger to flights. There is a road leading the Very High Frequency Omni -Directional Radio Range, VOR, which is in terrible state. It functions 24 hours because it guides pilots in their flights. Without this, this airport cannot be operated. The road is 1.5 kilometres and we need to build it because it is impassible during the rainy season,” he said.
He explained that unless the security concerns at the airport were addressed, the certification of the airport to an international status will not be possible. He called on Enugu state government to do the needful as he would do everything in his ability to ensure that Enugu was given its rightful place.
Ugwuanyi told the Minister that he would do all in his ability to ensure that the airport gets an international status to enhance Enugu’s economic and social status.
He pleaded with the Minister to put the request in writing as quickly as possible in order to quicken the issues raised.
FG urges artisan, small scale miners to take advantage of govt loans
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has urged artisans and small-scale miners to take advantage of co-operative societies and government-provided loans to expand their operations and profitability in the country.
Mr Patrick Ojeka, Director of Artisans and Small Scale Mining Department, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, gave the advice on Monday in Enugu during a workshop for artisans and small-scale miners in South-East and South-South regions with a theme; “Provision of Extension Services to Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Operators”.
Ojeka who noted that the Federal Government was highly focusing on mining as a means to diversify the economy and move the country from a mono-economy to a multi-economy, said that the essence of the workshop was to ensure that the environment was protected and remain sustainable for future generations.