By Dennis Agbo, Enugu
Minister for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has reassured that the rehabilitation of Akanu Ibiam International airport runway will be ready before the Easter celebration in April.
The minister gave the reassurance when he inspected the rehabilitation work on Thursday.
He also stated that rehabilitation/completion of the terminal buildings would be done, same as perimeter fencing of the airport and installation of the airfield lighting among other facilities.
Sirika said: “I am very satisfied with the level of work. According to programme of work approved by us, we are beating the deadline. Easter is indeed feasible, we are delivering this work before Easter and that is sacrosanct by the grace of God.
The contractor is capable enough to deliver this procurement; it is one of the few companies in Nigeria with runway experience. We take this job seriously because we know that Enugu is the centre of South Eastern part of the country. By the time we are done with Enugu, you will be very proud of this airport.
“On the perimeter fencing, we will fortify our airports including Enugu to deal with the challenge of encroachment. The terminal building is another consideration by the government, special consideration given to Enugu because the loans that we got from the Chinese were meant for Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt; but in the wisdom of government and because of the importance of Enugu, government decided to fund by itself through budget, the Enugu terminal building and we are progressing very well and we will deliver the terminal building.
“The runway will come with other equipment and other systems that will make the runway efficient and effective. The instrument landing system is part of it, the airfield lightings, taxi lights and others will all be part and parcel of what we will deliver in the Enugu runway.
“Every single equipment needed or item of operation that this airport will need will have it as we deliver this airport to you. That will take care of 24 hours operations in the airport and we are in partnership with Enugu state government to deliver water to the airport.
“Part of the consideration is that the Ekulu River will be utilized to deliver water to the airport but before that there will be emergency water delivery the state government has promised. We are on course and we are happy that will deliver.”
Deputy Governor of Enugu state, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo pledged on behalf of the state government to fulfill the state government’s part of obligations in the rehabilitation of the airport.
She said “On the collaboration, you know we won’t fail. The state will do all it needs to do to it work because we its important and we know how the closure is affecting everybody in Igboland, so we will do all we ought to do.”
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Mr. Nnoli Nnaji said that the House was at the inspection as part of its oversight to ascertain how the runway reconstruction work was going.
“We expect that the time frame before Easter will be achieved because the people of the south east and environs such as Cross river state are using the airport. As legislators, we have done our own part and we pray that the executive will complete the remaining part,” Nnaji said.