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Don’t abandon Enugu airport like other projects in South East, FG told

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National President of the International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative (ISFPAHRI), Osmond Ugwu, yesterday cautioned against abandoning the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu like other projects in the South East.

He decried the delay in the completion of work at the airport, saying the way the ongoing rehabilitation of the airport was being handled left room for suspicion that the Federal Government cared less about its speedy completion.

Ugwu stressed that setting up a task force to ensure speedy completion of work, as was the case with the reconstruction of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja (NAIA) would show its seriousness.

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He told The Guardian in Enugu that no Federal Government project had been completed in the South East since the inception of democracy in 1999, stressing that the plethora of abandoned federal roads, water projects, dams and bridges, had left the “zone as a construction yard.”

He insisted that the delay in completion of the airport was an act of sabotage by those in charge of the project and those in authority who are in a position to release the required funds.

“We understand that the National Executive Council (NEC) approved the money for the completion of the airport long ago. So, if it had been approved, what could be delaying it?

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“The only factor impeding the project could only be the release of funds from the office of the Finance Minister and Accountant General of the Federation. Releasing the fund involves a lot of politics too. One thing is to secure approval and another is to get the funds released.

“The company handling the project may try to delay it after receiving the funds, but the government has the power to deal with such a situation where it is actually interesting. We all know how the NAIA was handled,” he stated.

He said the Federal Government and the contracting firm agreed on a specific date and time and it was delivered according to the arrangement, adding, “We saw how serious the government was over the project and there was almost 24 hours monitoring until its completion. Work was going on both day and night.

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“Government provided vehicles for movement of travellers to and from Abuja from the alternative airports around the zone. But for the Enugu Airport project, nothing of such is happening.

“The truth is that the Federal Government is not interested in the airport, otherwise it should have set up a task force to see the speedy process of the work. I know that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some distractions and all kinds of challenges.

“But that couldn’t be a major factor, because, with the application of government’s safety protocols, work could still be going on assuming the government was really interested in the project.”

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