Posted by News Express | 31 August 2020 | 822 times
By CHARLES IWUOHA, Enugu
The Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu was on Sunday officially reopened for flight operations amid celebrations.
The airport was closed down on August 24 last year for rehabilitation works following safety fears occasioned by almost dilapidated runways and some structures.
Rehabilitation works on the airport were initially scheduled to end by December last year but was delayed due to logistics and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking during the reopening ceremony, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving and releasing N10 billion for the rehabilitation work.
He recalled that president Buhari had asked him to embark on the rehabilitation work after safety concerns were raised and commended him for fulfilling his promise.
He further disclosed that a lot of works was done in the airport, stating that it could now carry out night flight operations following provision of night facilities.
The Minister, however, noted that in the course of the rehabilitation works, they encountered a lot of challenges like COVID-19 lockdown, the Orie Emene Market, destruction of the perimeter fencing, among others.
He expressed appreciation to the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for helping them to contain some of the challenges through the demolition of Orie Emene Market and some Government facilities.
He commended the efforts of the South-East Governors in setting up the Akanu Ibiam Rehabilitation Committee, pointing out that the committee served with patriotism.
According to him, the newly rehabilitated airport was a testimony of the burning desire of the administration of Buhari to provide infrastructure for the country
Earlier in his remarks, the governor of Ebonyi State and Chairman of South -East Governors' Forum, David Umahi, expressed happiness over the reopening of the airport, saying the rehabilitation of the airport was a risk worth taking.
While commending President Buhari for approving a special funding for the project, Umahi described him as a passionate leader.
Umahi stressed the need for South-East Governors and leaders to make out time to tell Buhari that they were indeed grateful over what he is doing in the region.
“It was a risk worth taking. South-East leaders and governors must make out time to tell President Muhammadu Buhari that we are very grateful,” he said.
Present at the occasion were Governor Dave Umahi, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo, among others.
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