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Akwa Ibom spends N1.2b to train indigenous pilots, engineers, says governor

By Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh and Ayoyinka Jegede, Uyo
21 September 2022   |   2:47 am
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has said the state government spent over N1.2 billion to train the second batch of engineers and pilots at Airbus, aircraft manufacturers, in a renewed

[FILES] Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom. Photo/FACEBOOK/Mbiedabasi/MrUdomEmmanuel

blames inability to acquire more aircraft on the Russia-Ukraine war

Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has said the state government spent over N1.2 billion to train the second batch of engineers and pilots at Airbus, aircraft manufacturers, in a renewed move to reposition and increase the capacity of the state-owned airline, Ibom Air.

Emmanuel, who made this known, yesterday, during an interactive session with journalists in Uyo, said the first batch of trainees were already undertaking the training meant to provide needed technical personnel in Ibom Air.

The governor, who expressed joy at the strides of the airline within a short time, also said the Maintenance, Overhaul and Repairs (MRO) facility at the Victor Attach International Airport in Uyo would be ready before the end of the year and would help in making the state the aviation hub of the region.

According to him, the inability of the airline to acquire more aircraft is due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine as most financial systems are linked to Russia.

“The state government is spending billions of naira to train and prepare the best hands of our indigenes for the growing opportunities in the aviation sector and, particularly, Ibom Air. We have already sent the first batch of engineers and pilots to Airbus and the second batch is preparing to go,” he said.

He said his administration had commenced alternative moves to acquire more aircraft to boost the fleet of the airline towards building on the gains already made by the airline in the country’s aviation sector.

He expressed satisfaction with his performance in the last seven years despite the challenges of COVID-19 and that of Nigeria’s economy, pointing out that after conquering the aviation sector, Akwa Ibom has also become a pacesetter in road infrastructure.

His administration, he said, aside from urban roads, constructed more than 113 community roads while major towns in the state have been linked with dual carriage roads, making movement around the state easier, and safer and increasing the ease of doing business and evacuating agricultural products, especially from rural areas in the state.

He said the inability of the state government to make envisaged progress in the construction of the Ibom Deep Sea Port was due to extraneous factors but announced that a Korean-based developer would soon facilitate the development of the seaport.

His administration, he said, spent over $34 million on the construction of the 8.4km IBB Avenue flood control project, a facility that transverses 18 communities in three councils of the state and carries more than half of the floodwater generated in Uyo and its environs.

On power, he expressed dissatisfaction with the inability of the PHEDC to distribute power effectively, but said: “The good news, however, is that we have also obtained a distribution licence, using a utility company so that we can distribute the power we generate effectively and achieve a 24-hour electricity supply to every part of the state in the shortest possible time.”

On education, the governor said that in addition to sustaining the free and compulsory education scheme, more than 5,000 education facilities have been provided in schools across the state in the seven years but regretted that vandals have continued to frustrate the efforts of the state government in this direction.