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Flights grounded in Akure airport over mysterious crater on runway

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Fire guts SUBEB, scholarship board offices, others in Ondo

There was fire outbreak in Akure, the state capital of Ondo State, affecting four offices of different government establishments and destroying property worth millions of naira.

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The offices affected by the inferno included the annex of Ondo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Ondo State Scholarship Board, Ondo State Radiovision Corporation and the French Language Centre.

The Guardian learnt that the unfortunate incident occurred at about 10:00 p.m. on Sunday and razed all the offices, destroying various gadgets, files, documents and the entire building built with plank.

A visit to the scene of the incident, showed the ruins and debris of the building, which was built over 30 years ago as they were still smoldering.

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Eyewitnesses said that the fire outbreak might be as a result of power surge from one of the appliances within the premises.

According to them, the incident was not a deliberate act as said by some people who peddled the rumour that the #EndSARS protesters torched the property.

They recounted that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the SUBEB Chairman, Oladunni Odu, who were at the scene for on-the-spot assessment, described it as unfortunate.

IN another related event, flights were grounded at the Akure Airport over sudden and mysterious appearance of crater on the runway of the airport.

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According to sources, a crater was dug by suspected miscreants on the runway, which forced the airport authority to shut the runway. It was said to be a preventive measure on taking off and landing of flights.

The Airport Manager, Mrs. Joke Olatunji, who said she was not authorised to speak with journalists on the incident, denied suspension of activities at the airport.

Olatunji, in a suspicious move, led some government officials to inspect the runway but barred journalists from accessing the area to ascertain the level of damage on the runaway.

She said that there were two flights at the airport yesterday but refused to disclose their destinations.

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Further investigation, however, revealed that the airport had been closed to operations as a result of the deep hole dug on the runway. It was noted that it was discovered overnight and subsequently led to the closure.

There were no operational activities in the airport, though it could not be ascertained whether it was the closure of the runway that was responsible or the ongoing raging protests and destruction of public and private facilities across the country.

While the spokesperson of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed that there were cracks on the runway during the routine checks yesterday, she claimed that the cracks had not affected flight operations in the airport, adding that repair had begun on the cracked portions of the runway.

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