Igbo Renaissance Forum condemns slow pace of work on Enugu Airport •Berates South-East Governors, others

Posted by News Express | 20 June 2020 | 1,471 times

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•IRF International Coordinator, Ugo-Akpe Onwuka (Oyi)

The Igbo Renaissance Forum (IRF) on Friday outrightly condemned what it described as disappointing reactions from the Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, and the Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, on their visit to inspect the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

In a statement made available to the media, and signed by the International Coordinator, Nze Ugo-Akpe Onwuka (Oyi), IRF also came down heavily on the South East Governors and the Renovation Committee set up by the South East Governors, Chaired by Engr. Chris Okoye.

It lamented “the unfortunately long duration of the rehabilitation work amidst growing concerns about issues of substandard or inappropriate delivery on some aspects of the job, which unfortunately the South East political leaders have continued to gloss over, while praising the Federal Government and others.”

The statement reads: “Those who are supposed to be asking questions are rather proffering excuses on behalf of the slacking Federal Government, FAAN and the Contractor who is not doing a satisfactory job as far as FAAN is concerned?

“10 months after shutting the airport down and sundry versions of STORIES, here we are with an airport that needs amendment of facilities before the job is completed and we are to wait and plead with nature not to bring rain if we want to have the job finished!

“Honourable Nnolim Nnaji and Honourable Toby Okechukwu should kindly explain to Ndi Igbo reasons behind all the COMMENDATIONS and ACCOLADES showered on those who have FAILED to deliver the Enugu Airport as promised.

“Is it not of concern to these Igbo sons and Enugu state indigenes, that Abuja International Airport was done and dusted in SIX WEEKS, while the contractor is telling them to their faces that it would take ABOUT TEN WEEKS more, that is dependent on the weather to complete the Enugu Airport?”

IRF went ahead to query the rationale for what they described as obvious unsatisfactory reactions from the Honourable Members who seemed to be playing advocates for the erring parties in the matter by playing down the need for speedy execution and  rather dwelling on the need to look at quality job over timely completion.

The group said: “Is it that these two Members of the House of Representatives did not hear the Federal Airports Authority representative state that the turning pads that have been completed by the contractor have some measurement deficiency?

“It is shocking that after noting that there are some safety issues in the graduation between the active runway and the shoulders, the best from a typical Enugu son would be to suggest that ‘it will be CORRECTED SOON’, while giving thumbs up to the job.

“Please kindly help us with the timeline known as SOON!

“Lo and behold, amidst these issues plaguing an uncompleted job, Hon. Toby Okechukwu went ahead to Expressed Satisfaction with the work on the ground at the airport.

“As sad as the reaction of the House of Representatives, Deputy Minority Leader sounded, the House Chairman on Aviation, Hon. Nnoli Nnaji went ahead to start making excuses for the contractor by offering that the contractor failed to deliver, because of a broken plant and the environmental and climatic issues such as inclemency of weather which posed serious delay to the delivery of the work.

“Even with the assertion by the Federal Airports Authority representative that the delay is squarely the fault of the Contractor, why was it that the Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, who is an Igbo son and from Enugu state didn’t find it absurd to hear such crippled excuses, but is the one rather helping with the propagation of such lax excuse?

“It is unbelievable that the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnoli Nnaji after stating expressly that based on what was on the ground; no one can give definite completion time, he did not deem it fit to, at the least, have strong words for the Contractor, but rather dwelt on encouraging them to keep working while they at the National Assembly would be visiting without consequence nor action as usual.

“What are the Governors of the South East saying?

“These are men whose pastime is congratulating the President and the Minister for Aviation and themselves for supervising an unfinished project that has developed problems prior to completion?

“Where is the Chairman of South east Governors Airport Renovation committee, Engr. Chris Okoye and his members that are always being congratulated by the South East Governors Forum for doing an awesome job of overseeing activities at the Enugu Airport?

“It is time to ask the South East Governors if this Airport Renovation Committee is on Pro-Bono basis, and if it is not, how much is being expended on a Committee that has proven from inception to be inefficient and ineffective in delivering on the job assigned to them.

“Enough is Enough!

“If they are doing a Pro-Bono job, please, they should be disengaged pronto!

“We never get to hear that anything has gone wrong with the airport rehabilitation, even when it has become obvious that things are not well.

“All we get is Palpable SILENCE and recurring COMMENDATIONS!

“It is obviously not out of place by the evidence on ground that all parties involved in this Enugu Airport project saga have loads of questions to answer.”

IRF, which has been at the forefront of the advocacy for the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu, reiterated their resolve to continue raising awareness on the progress of work at the airport until the job is completed and commissioned at the stipulated quality standard.

Source: News Express

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