In keeping with its determination to ensure speedy intervention on the safety of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, by the federal government, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration, yesterday approved the immediate relocation of the transmission mast of the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) located at Ngwo, Enugu North Local Government Area.
The state government also announced Wednesday, September 26, as the date for the inauguration of the recently constituted stakeholders’ committee saddled with the responsibility of resolving all issues around the expansion and upgrade of the airport facilities. Briefing newsmen after the meeting of the State Executive Council (EXCO), the commissioner for information, Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe disclosed that the relocation of the mast was in fulfillment of one of the requests made by the Ministry of Aviation as part of the measures to enhance the safety of the international airport.
Mr. Anikwe, who stressed that “all hands must be on deck” to make sure that the airport was rehabilitated to standard, explained that the issue of obstruction by the mast was very dear to the state government, saying: “The Managing Director of ESBS has been summoned to return from his meeting in Abuja to start relocating the mast at Ngwo”.
The information commissioner added that the action committee that will be inaugurated next week, would deal with other issues or encumbrances militating against the upgrade of the airport. Mr. Anikwe pointed out that Gov. Ugwuanyi has assured that the state government would carry out every other thing that the federal authorities require to upgrade the airport, “because it is not just the Enugu State government, but all the South East Governors have been united in their eagerness and support to ensure that the project is completed”.
He also maintained that the state government places high premium on the safety and effective operation of the Enugu international airport because of its socio-economic and political benefits to the people of the South East geo-political zone.
Shedding more light, the Commissioner for Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Barr. Chidi Aroh stated that Gov. Ugwuanyi, who is “totally committed to protection of lives and property”, has adjusted back the time-frame for the inauguration of the intervention committee to Wednesday because of the urgency of the matter.
According to him, “Gov. Ugwuanyi is committed to ensuring the rehabilitation of the airport because of his love for the people and the vital role Enugu is playing as the capital of the South East, and indeed, Southern Nigeria. “The governor is not waiting for the federal government to do a few things there. He is committed to do most of the works he can do. It is on record that he has mobilized South East Governors to intervene on the issues of the airport as a South East project”.
It would be recalled that the Enugu State government had constituted a stakeholders’ committee that would look into and resolve all issues around the expansion of the airport.
The committee, which comprises officials of the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, and the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, also has the State Ministries of Lands & Urban Development, Commerce & Industry, and Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, as well as the management of the ENPOWER Free Trade Zone. The stakeholders, according to the state government, would have to unravel what appeared to be a disagreement among federal agencies operating in Enugu State regarding ownership of vast hectares of land that the state government has so far approved around the airport for their use.
It was noted that “if at the end of the meeting, it is established that any of the parties still needed more land, especially for the airport project, the Enugu State government will promptly attend to this need”.