Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, yesterday, said the Federal Government has mobilised contractors to commence work on the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The airport was shut down about three months ago to enable the repair of the runway and other facilities following safety complaints by airline owners and pilots.
President Muhammadu Buhari had released N10 billion to facilitate the project after a meeting with a delegation of South East leaders.
Sirika, who spoke to journalists after a meeting with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi at House Enugu, assured that the airport would be open before Easter 2020.
Sirika, said he was in the state alongside Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Hamisu Rabiu Yadudu; Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nnoli Nnaji and other professionals to interact with the contractor “to see the level of preparation for the work and review the programme to ensure he delivers the runway within the time agreed.”
Sirika commended Governor Ugwuanyi for the support to efforts to rehabilitate the airport.
“Governor Ugwuanyi has done everything we asked the state to do. We commend him for those tough decisions that he took in overriding public interest. I think he is bold, courageous, and his show of support and love for his people cannot be quantified,” Sirika said.
Sirika also commended Mr. Nnoli Nnaji, for his diligence, persistence and contributions to the project, especially in ensuring budgetary allocations to the airport.
Deputy Whip of the House, and member representing Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency of Abia, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, said the closure of the airport was a step in the right direction as it would pave way for a holistic rehabilitation of the runway.
“What they built there was a road not a runway; whenever it rains, the whole place is flooded. The closure of the airport is not an action against Ndigbo. Those who claim that it took the visit of Igbo leaders for N10 billion to be released should tell us if Igbo leaders visited Aso Rock before work on the second Niger Bridge started, or the ongoing rehabilitation of Enugu /Port Harcourt express way,” she said.
Onyejeocha appealed for patience by users of the airport, expressing the optimism that the rehabilitation of the runway would be delivered on schedule.