By Uzoh Ugwueze, Enugu
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has announced that the ongoing rehabilitation of the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, has reached 90-95 percent completion. Sirika also assured that the project would be completed and ready for use by August 30, 2020.
The minister spoke after inspecting the project with the Secretary to the Enugu State Government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, who represented Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Hamisu Rabiu Yadudu; the Enugu Airport Manager, Mrs. Cecilia Oguama; the chairman, South East Governors’ Forum; Airport Rehabilitation/Palliative Works Committee, Engr. Chris Okoye; the State Commissioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh; the chairman, Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority; Dr. Josef Umunnakwe Onoh, among others.
He said the rainy season was largely responsible for the delay in the completion of the runway rehabilitation.
Sirika, who expressed satisfaction with the quality of work done, added that the Enugu airport runway, on completion, would be one of the best in the country. He stated that the federal government “wanted to make a very quick intervention in this procurement, to ensure that this once dilapidated runway was completely rehabilitated for safety”, regretting that the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) hindered the progress of work, as “the workers took to their heels to ensure they remained safe”.
According to the minister: “We are back to site, and we have made tremendous progress. What is left is little. We have completed about 90-95 percent of the job (pavement wearing course of the runway). The perimeter fence and the road are ongoing and other works to ensure that this airport, including the air field lighting, is delivered for day and night operations.
“You know we are now in the rainy season and just like COVID-19, the rainy season is also a monster in construction or procurement of this nature. But the contractor is doing extremely well, likewise the consultant. So, I am very happy at the rate at which they are going and I am very confident that this procurement will be delivered on the 30th of August, 2020. This, of course, is with due consideration to the weather”.
Sen. Sirika used the opportunity to commend the South East governors, “especially Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who has always been here and shown commitment, and has done everything he said he would do”.