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Clearing The Air On Enugu Airport Closure ~ By Charles Ogbu

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Going by reactions that trailed the suspension of the planned closure of Akanu Ibiam “International” Airport, Enugu, I believe there is a whole lot of misinformation flying in the air. Let me make some clarifications:

The Akanu Ibiam Airport is in need of repair and deserved to be closed to allow for thorough maintenance.

The body responsible for the Airport is the federal ministry of Aviation because Airport, Seaport, Rail line, Electricity, etc are in the EXCLUSIVE LIST which contains about 68 items only the federal govt has exclusive control over. State can only touch any of those items if the federal Authorities permit it.

By announcing that Enugu Airport would be closed to allow for repair work, the federal authorities were doing the right thing

Problem is…

There was absolutely nothing on ground to show that the planned closure was for the purpose of maintenance. There was:

  • No contract awarded for the airport Repair
  • No date given for work to start and no date given for the completion.
  • No work done on Mbakwe Airport, Owerri to upgrade it to a position where it would be able to receive diverted Enugu bound passengers as we witnessed with Kaduna Airport when Abuja International Airport was to be repaired.

In essence, both the permanent Secretary in the Aviation minister who ordered the closure before the Minister was sworn in and the minister himself were all being a bit economical with the truth because you can’t claim to be closing an airport for repair when you haven’t even awarded the contract yet even when the Airport deterioration didn’t happen over night and you were the one collecting tax, levies and other collectables from the Airport.

This is the reason people opposed the planned closure which has now been stepped down. No one is arguing against the federal govt maintaining the Airport.

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