Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has acknowledged the Enugu State Government’s efforts at removing impediments to safety around the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu to ensure that government carries out repairs on the runway.
Sirika who responded to the Enugu State government’s directive issued late last night called for a speedy implementation of the directive stating that it would help government address the safety concerns on that airport’s runway.
The Minister who was inaugurating facilities around the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos said, “We wish to acknowledge steps taken by the Enugu State government in a bid to improve safety at the Akanu Ibiam international Airport ( Enugu).
“We are happy to see that the Enugu state government has seen reason with the Ministry to address safety concerns raised.
“We are appreciative that in the name of safety, Enugu State Executive Council approved the immediate closure of Orie Emene Market (abattoir inclusive) to forestall any tragedy at the Airport.
“We are also happy that the Council also ordered immediate removal of all illegal structures encroaching on the land of the Airport, radio mast of the state broadcasting service, and Free Trade Zone.
He called on the state government to expedite action on the removal of these safety impediments so work can commence.
“We, however, would be extremely comfortable if compliance with the above directives from the state government are carried out as soon as possible to give us necessary allowance to carry out repairs as well as expansion and extension of the Runway. All these will better the lot of the Enugu Airport and improve safety a hundred fold.
The Minister on Friday night had hinted government’s plan at downgrading the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu or shut it down outright to enable it carry out renovations on the airport runways to avoid any major incident.
He had also stated that he had made entreaties to the Enugu state government thrice to aid the Ministry to carry out renovations of the runway to no avail by removing its state radio station mast at the runway, relocate its market which has an abattoir that attract birds and some a free trade zone at the edge of the runway that would aid repairs.
However, in a swift reaction to forestall any plan to downgrade or shut the airport, the Enugu state government through its Commissioner for Information, Ogbuagu Anikwe, issued the state government’s directive to comply with the Ministry of aviation.
His statement last night read, “Following safety concerns raised by Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) on potential air hazards in and around the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu as well as the near tragic air mishap that occurred on 6th May, 2019, the Enugu State Executive Council has approved the immediate closure of Orie Emene Market (abattoir inclusive) to forestall tragic air accident at the Airport.
“Accordingly, the Chairman of Enugu East Local Government Area has been directed to effect the immediate closure of the market.
“Council also ordered immediate removal of all illegal structures encroaching on the land of the Airport.
“The State Executive Council had on 12th October, 2018 approved funds for relocation of the State Broadcast Mast on the approach of the Run Way to Okpatu Hill (Ugwu Rerenkwu) in Udi Local Government Area but the implementation of this project has been hampered by the disruptive activities of some youths in the community.
“Enugu State Government hereby directs immediate cessation of all hostilities against the project as any further interference will attract the full wrath of the Law given that Government has paid all the necessary compensation.
“The Traditional Rulers of Okaptu Communities and Town Union Leadership are hereby called upon to ensure full compliance with the above directives.