South East leaders are divided over funds to repair the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, closed down for rehabilitation 51 days ago by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Two Igbo organisations, Igbo Renaissance Forum (IRF) and Oke Ndigbo, accused the Federal Government of intentionally delaying work to give room for its downgrade by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Also, former president of Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazulike said the continued closure was the extension of marginalisation of the Igbo in Nigeria.
He would want the Federal Government to act within time to meet the December target. National Publicity Secretary of Oke Ndigbo, Dr. Donald Nwankwo alleged that the group got intelligence report in 2017 of a sinister plan by the President Muhammadu Buhari government to close down the airport.
“We heard that they were going to close down the airport indefinitely under the guise of repairing it until we get uncomfortable to beg that it is reopened for only local usage before they will quickly open it. The contention is the international status and nothing more,” Nwankwo stated.
International Coordinator, Igbo Renaissance Forum, Nze Ugo-Akpe Onwuka said the process of contractual agreement to the technical documentation, down to the execution and commissioning of the repairs and upgrade to the Enugu International Airport, was done between the periods Igbo persons headed the Ministry of Aviation.
“It is rather befuddling how none of these individuals took a closer look at the issues that made Enugu Airport a death trap by aviation industry standards in less than six years, leading to this current shutdown that has plunged the South East deeper into economic repression. “We are using this medium to put those our brothers and sisters who have in one way or the other had any dealings with the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and its repairs and upgrade on notice, to get themselves ready as we shall be calling on them to explain to Ndi Igbo what they know and how we got to this point,” Ugo-Akpe stated.
IRF called on the South East governors to convene an urgent emergency meeting to find ways to get the job done and satisfactorily within the shortest possible time to save the region the economic losses and the rigours occasioned by the closure of the airport.