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Real Reason Buhari Wants To Shut Down Enugu Airport

By Justus Uche Ijeoma


Facilitating the upgrade of Enugu airport to International status was the major sin Senator Stella Odua committed against them as the Aviation Minister. The pain refused to go away.

Every mark of development in the South East is a wound to their heart, which refuses to heal. Now, apparently to heal their bleeding wound, they want to reverse the tiny progresses.

That explains why all the major developments in the South East are powered by private individuals’ efforts.

It is nothing but the resilience and industry of the Igbos that makes it seem we are ahead of others in many indices of development despite all the deliberate economic and political machinations visited on the east by the Nigerian state.

Immediately President Buhari assumed office in 2015, work stopped at the Enugu airport and has not resumed since then.

Each time I use the airport and see the great work work commenced by the past administration on the international wing of the airport lying in ruination it reminds me of the injustices that have become permanent feature of the Nigerian state.

You cannot run a country this way and expect the support of the people. This callous exclusion of the South East in the scheme of development of Nigeria cannot bring peace.

Justice is the foundation of every sustainable peace. No reasonableman cries when things are done aright.

The reported plan by the Federal Government to shut down and downgrade the Enugu airport on the flimsy reasons being advanced is, to say the least, vexatious. The plan is ill-motivated, unjustly punitive and cannot be supported by reason.

The Enugu airport is the 8th busiest airport in the country. It is ahead of Kaduna airport, which occupies the 10th position in terms of busyness. In terms of international travels, Enugu airport is the 5th busiest. This is despite the deliberate neglect of the airport and its facilities.

A sensible government that provides infrastructure on a need-driven approach cannot close down such a viable infrastructure on the untenable reason.

That simply betrays the insincerity of the government. Of the 16 airports scattered across the northern states of Nigeria only 2 (Kano and Kaduna) made list of the 10 busiest airports in Nigeria, occupying the 4th and 10th positions, respectively. (Of course, I will not include Abuja airport as that of the North). Yet no one talks about the viability or otherwise of those airports.

The Federal Government must shelve the idea of downgrading the only international airport in the South East. It should rather put in sincere efforts towards changing the face of the airport.

The problems identified, if anything, should make them come alive to their responsibility.

The solution cannot be to downgrade such a viable airport, while retaining the unviable ones.

Justus Uche Ijeoma

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