South East govs write Buhari to extend closure of Enugu airport

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STATE governors in Nigeria’s South East wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, appealing to the President to extend the closure of Enugu’s Akanu Ibiam International Airport till the end October to allow for adequate preparations for airport users in the region.

The Federal Airport Aviation Authority (FAAN) announced recently that the Enugu airport would be closed on the 24th August to enable it carry out repair work on its runway.

But regional governors, though elated that their earlier request had been heeded, say that the announcement was sudden as they need more time to make adequate arrangements for airport users in the region and a other remedial work in the airport.

This comes amid the governors asking the President to approve their earlier resolution banning Fulani herdsmen without cattle and the movement of cattle by foot in the region to eliminate rising incidences of murder, maiming, rape, abduction and destruction of farmlands, mostly attributed to foreign herdsmen with the backing of some compromised local herders.

The Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, in the letter made available to reporters in Abakaliki by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, called on the President to direct the aviation sector of the Federal Ministry of Transport to provide immediate palliatives in the form of transportation, with armed escorts and helicopter services to prospective passengers from alternative airports that connect the region.

The governors, in addition, suggested that the Federal Ministry of Works in collaboration with the South East Governors’ Forum be directed to carry out further repairs on the major roads leading to the alternative airports as well as clear all the bushes along the routes.

They also appealed that 24-hour joint security patrol be provided for the safety of the people and visitors to the South East who will be using the roads running along the alternative airports.

The letter reads:

“The South East Governors’ Forum highly appreciates Your Excellency Mr. President for granting our request for the immediate resurfacing of the tarmac and extension of the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for public safety.

“May we use this opportunity to also thank you for the consistent progress of works at the Second Niger Bridge in Onitsha and other federal government projects in the South East especially the completion of the Zik’s Mausoleum in Onitsha and 2.8 mega watt solar power plant at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo in Ebonyi State.

“As we thank you Mr. President, we are constrained to ask for your kind intervention in the observations we have made to the Federal Ministries of Transport (Aviation sector) and Works on the closure of the airport for the renovation works.

“Your Excellency, in our letters to the respective ministries, we observed that the notification of the closure was prompt giving us no time to make adequate arrangement for the security and convenience of our people and visitors to the South East who will be travelling long distances to alternative airports where flights will be diverted to.

“We request that the closure of the airport be deferred to the end of October, 2019 to enable adequate arrangements to be made for security of the airport users and for few remedial works within seven days to be carried out at the tarmac to ensure safety.

“That Mr. President do approve the earlier resolution of the South East Governors banning herdsmen without cattle and movement of cattle by foot in the zone to eliminate increasing cases of killing, maiming, raping of our women, kidnapping of our people and destruction of our farmlands mostly carried out by foreign herdsmen and in most cases with the backing of some compromised local herders.

“We plead with Mr. President that we publish this letter to assuage our people’s feelings who erroneously think that no efforts are being made by the leaders of the South East to tackle insecurity and economic challenges facing the zone and to let them know that her leaders before now have been working very hard without making noise as issues of security must not be discussed in the public.”

Sunonline

– Aug. 20, 2019 @ 16:15 GMT |

 

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