Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika has relocated and is now in Enugu for Sunday’s reopening date for Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu
Hopes rose for many in the South East today, 27 August 2020, as the Aviation Minister arrived Enugu to monitor preparations for Sunday 30 August reopening date.
An Aviation Ministry statement confirmed that Sirika is headed to Enugu for the grand reopening of International Airport in Enugu.
This was double joy for the State as it celebrated 29 years since Anambra State was excised to allow it stand as an independent federating state in Nigeria.
A statement from James Odaudu, the Ministry spokesperson, said Sirika has already arrived with his aides to ensure nothing stands in the way of Sunday’s planned reopening.
Federal aviation authorities shut down the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu for repairs exactly a year ago on 29 August 2019.
However, this had to wait until two months later when President Buhari finally approved the N10billion bill presented by the Minister.
The Minister, however, did not flag off the rehabilitation works until 17 November, exactly one month after the President’sapproval.
The Ministry has since missed two reopening dates, the second due to the Covid-19 virus outbreak in February. The first promise was for December 2019.
The Minister himself promised the latest 30 August date for the Enugu Airport reopening and resumption of flights.
Odaudu said the Minister is already in Enugu to monitor finishing touches by contractors on the runway and facilities.
The statement has doused growing apprehension about the ability of government to meet its self-imposed 30 August deadline.
The apprehensions picked up after a private developer mobilized bulldozers to pull down a part of the airport fence.
The developer, an architect, staked a claim to large swathes of the airport land, saying he bought them from a nearby local community.
Enugu State Government retaliated by pulling down the developer’s private home and putting him on the run.
Odaudu said in the statement that the Federal Government was not deterred by the developer’s action because it is focused on heeding the pleas of South East leaders on the airport.
“Everything possible is being done to ensure that the South-East region, the major beneficiaries of the project, begins to enjoy flight operations at the airport from Sunday,” he said.