Posted by Charles lwuoha, Enugu | 1 September 2019 | 1,266 times
Governors of the South-East geopolitical zone have said that they would write President Muhammadu Buhari for a meeting with him and Security Service Chiefs on security issues so as to douse growing tension in the region.
Rising from their meeting at Government House, Enugu, on Saturday, the Igbo governors who met under the auspices of Southeast Governors’ Forum (SGF), said they deliberated extensively on the security situation in the region, reiterating their determination to establish Forest Guards in each state of the zone.
Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, also told reporters that they had already set up a security committee in each of the five states, adding they would play major role with security chiefs and in the airport closure and diversion of flights.
Umahi said they acknowledged the safety reasons given to them by the Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika for the closure of Enugu Airport, explaining that “it is a matter of need to save the lives of our people.”
According to him, “The deterioration of the airport went for a long time and the status is such in a deplorable situation that they have to close it to save the lives of our people and we acknowledge his measures and we are very satisfied with his passion and his readiness to uplift the airport.
“Honourable Minister of Aviation has assured us that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport will be reconstructed to meet the Abuja International Airport standard, the runway shall be reconstructed and extended, and the landing equipment shall be replaced with a better night landing light installation and he has assured that the work will go on day and night and it must be completed before December 2019.
“Palliative measure is being arranged and the South-East governors will have a committee with Minister of Aviation and Minister of Works to discuss on the palliative measures. We are very committed as South-East governors for the safety of pour people, for the convenience of our people to ease all inconveniences and these we are going to do. Some states have already started and some states will also follow. And in the next one week we will totally roll out our palliative measures and we assure our people of their safety.”
On Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Imo State, “the governors and the Honourable Minister had already met and a number of facelifts would be given like the barbed wire, the tarmac, the buildings; they are all going to be given facelift, where most of these planes would be diverted to and we are very happy with that.”
Also speaking, Aviation Minister Sirika noted: “Indeed for us at the centre in this federating country, we take the city of Enugu to be extremely important because what Enugu is to the South East is what Kaduna, for example, is to the North or Ibadan to the South West. So contemplating to close down the runway in the heart of the South-Eastern part of the country, very mobile, very enterprising people, it’s not done without complete respect and regard to the activities around this centre.”
The Minister further said: “It was purely based on safety to ensure that people that are flying into airport do so safely. This airport is one of the five International Airports that we have, I want to assure you that we will take all the seriousness that it deserves, and we should be able to deliver this project all things being equal before Christmas.
“We are conscious and aware of the hardships that you might go through but I believe it is worth it in the interest of safety and the committee that has been formed will discuss the palliative and we will also discuss the arrangement, planning.”
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