Update On The Enugu International Airport Renovation
By Charles Ogbu
First, let me apologize for failing to do this much earlier. I was waiting for an opportunity to visit Enugu to verify all my info. Let me quickly make some clarifications; I am not a member of the committee inaugurated to monitor progress of works on the Enugu Airport. I merely attended an expanded meeting of the Southeast Governors Forum with the Aviation minister in my capacity as a member of an Igbo group, Nzuko Umunna which took up the issue of the Airport with the aviation ministry and made numberless intervention towards getting the govt to start work on the Airport long before our Governors woke up to the matter. The Southeast Governors read our presentation and invited Nzuko Umunna to the meeting with the minister. The group (Nzuko Umunna) then nominated a 5 member delegation to attend the meeting. I was made the Secretary. Since then, everything I’ve written on the airport stem from information I personally sourced from different quarters and verified myself in my individual VOLUNTARY capacity. If I travel to the Airport to verify anything, I do so with my own transport fare. In fact, on November, 2019, I came all the way from Abuja to Enugu and visited the Airport with Clinton Umeh who is an Enugu based publisher of “Journalist 101” but we were denied entry because I came in my individual capacity. I had to go back to my base with my transport and hotel fee wasted. I’m not making this clarification for anyone to praise me. Not at all. I’m doing this clarification because I’ve noticed there are so many toxic people here, from amongst my Igbo people, who tackle me as though I were their elected representative being paid salaries and allowances. Please, I am not.
Back to the Update.
Work is currently ongoing at the Airport. Aside the runway, a Cargo terminal building and international terminal building (both are being handled by CCECC), clinic, fencing and water supply will be put in place at the Airport. (Enugu state govt is handling the water) Another entrance for trucks bringing and taking cargo in and out of the airport is being worked on. And of course, light equipment for night landing or night takeoff of flight is also being installed.
The whole 10billion earmarked for the airport has since been released. Out of this, 3.2billion has been released to the foreign construction firm, PW (an Irish company) handling the runway. There was a little issue with some community in Ebonyi from where PW is getting some special stone but it’s been resolved. During the last renovation work done at the airport under the previous govt, CCECC was contracted and paid some money to build international terminal building for the airport but no land was provided forcing the project to stall. Now, a piece of land has been provided. And CCECC should be at the site as I type.
Both the Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum, the Aviation minister, the Chairman of the airport monitoring team, PW management and FAAN Chairman insist the end of March/first week of April completion date remains sacrosanct. But as of today, PW is not working day and night. They blamed late arrival of their night equipment for this but assured their day and night operation will start this week.
In summary, the renovation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport is currently going on. Almost everything there from the runway to the main building and the entire facility is being expanded. And the authorities have given assurances that they will not only deliver an Airport that will meet up with international standard but that they will also meet up with the April/May deadline.
I’ve repeatedly tried to convince them to make the construction site accessible to the media so as to enhance transparency but so far, I’ve not succeeded. They say it’s against international safety procedure to allow uncontrolled access to any construction site but adviced those who want to visit to go through the Monitoring Committee for proper coordination.
If you have any questions, please ask me.
My special thanks to the Chairman of the monitoring committee, Engr. Chris Okoye, a perfect gentleman who has been quite resourceful in providing answers to all my queries as well as making my effort to personally go verify things for myself seamless.