Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N10billion for the rejuvenation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu State.
“I have approved the sum of 10 billion Naira for an Intervention fund for the upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu,” Buhari tweeted on Today.
President Buhari gave the approval following a meeting with South-East governors and leaders from the zone at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“I have the assurance of the Minister of Aviation that the work will be done speedily and to the highest standards.”
Buhari reiterate his administration’s efforts to prioritise infrastructure development in every part of the country, stating that “It is our responsibility to ensure Nigeria’s infrastructure is fixed; we will keep doing this.”
In August, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria announced the closure of the airport, for the reconstruction of its runway. The airport serves as the only international airport in the Southeast region has been underutilized due to its bad state.
The airport has been closing by 6 pm daily owing largely to the absence of airfield lighting and approach light.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) inspected the airport discovered that the deplorable condition of the airport has hindered its capacity to generate revenue for the federal government.
The South-East governors and leaders from the zone on Thursday demanded for a special fund for the rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu State.
They made the demand during the meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum and Ebonyi Governor, Dave Umahi, also sought for declaration of state of emergency on roads and erosion in the South East.
He said: ”We are here to kindly urge Mr. President to approve special fund for the Akanu Ibiam Airport just like what was done for Abuja Airport.”
According to him, the closure of the Enugu airport has grounded activities in the region and causing great hardship on the people.
The deplorable South East roads, he said, have made the lives of the people miserable.
The meeting went into closed door session as journalists were asked to leave the Council Chamber before the President started his speech.
In attendance were Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senate Minority Leader representing South East Caucus in National Assembly, Senator Sam Egwu.
Others are former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, former Governors Martin Elechi, Ebonyi State, Okwesilieze, Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, Enugu State, Achike Udenwa, Imo, and Ikedi Ohakim, Imo.
Also at the meeting were Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu, Eric Acho Nwankwo, former Daily Times Managing Director, Chief Onyeama Ugochukwu, Ochiagha Regan Ufomba, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu and President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo among others.
Among those at the meeting included the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.