Another 419 on the Igbo nation – Enugu International Airport scam

The Enugu International Airport is another 419 on the Biafran Igbo citizens of Nigeria because there is yet nothing international about the airport. It is an informative note that late President Umaru Yar’Adua was the one who in 2008 approved the upgrading to the International status in line with his administration’s policy that each geopolitical zone will have at least one international airport.

In 2009, the Federal Executive Council approved the N4.13 billion for work on the airport which includes extension, asphalting and marking of the runway. The old runway was extended by 600 meters long and 60 meters width. In 2009, the airport was temporarily closed for work and those wishing to take the route were diverted to Sam Mbakwe Airport Owerri.

The Federal Government had invested $870 million in airport infrastructure, which includes the remodeling of the terminals and other security equipment. If the Federal Government invested N139 billion Naira to upgrade 11 airports around Nigeria and Enugu Airport got only N6 billion budgetary. It is very less budget compare to other airports. And President Jonathan had said that a new international terminal for the Enugu Airport will cost N13 billion Naira.

The question is, has any funds been committed to construct the international terminal. Is there any budgetary allocation for the terminal for the year 2015? The answer is negative. Therefore the Enugu Airport project is a 419.

The Turkish Airlines signed agreement in principle as announced by Vice President Sambo a year ago but fled back to Greece after inspecting the equipments on the ground. If that airport is truly international airlines like Virgin Atlantic Airways, British Airways, Emirates Airlines will play the route, but for now all overtures from certain quarters to tempt these carriers to Enugu have failed unhappily due to what they termed poor quality infrastructure. In January, 2015, no airline from Europe, America, Asia and Middle East have landed or taken off from Enugu International Airport.

The runway and aircraft hangers are always busy whenever there is rainfall and many times passengers have to remove their shoes, fold their trousers to walk up the tarmac for boarding. Many Igbo’s who expected to connect from their different overseas destinations to Enugu were disappointed during the Christmas season of 2014 and will still be disappointed by December 2015 because there is no proper plan to provide the South East an international airport. This Enugu International Airport is a different 419 on the Igbo nation and the airlines have dismissed the international status of the airport as a scam. When the emperors decide to actually give us an l airport the volume of activities, flights and passenger traffic will prove it- what we have is another International airport 419 on the Igbo nation and some fools are still celebrating.

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