President Muhamadu Buhari has promised that his administration would deliver world class airport infrastructure to Lagos, Abuja and Kano International Airports to improve socioeconomic development of the country.
Buhari made the pledge during the official reopening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu in Enugu State on Sunday.
The President, represented by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said he would not renege on his efforts to upgrade Enugu Airport to international world class standard.
He said the airport, which was closed down a year ago due to poor flight operations, was now ready for international flight operations.
The President said he was also ready to upgrade infrastructure facilities in other international airports in the country to a world class standard.
Buhari said: “We are proud to say that the completion we are witnessing today is indeed one of my testimonies to ensure that all our international airports are upgraded to world class infrastructure.
“You may recall that the Enugu Airport runway, which is vital to the development of South East economic, was closed a year ago because it was in a bad condition, which raised serious safety concern.
“It was on this basis that I made it mandatory that N10 billion should be released for the rehabilitation of the Enugu Airport.
“The N10 billion was expended on the taxiway, perimeter fencing, pilot lounge, car park, the terminal entrance, the link way, the radio equipment for the night operation at the airport and many more.”
Buhari said his administration would soon deliver the completion of the cargo and international terminals at the airport.
He said the Ministry of Aviation had just released additional N1 billion for the completion of the terminal building at the airport.
The President said the challenge to the completion of the terminal include the availability of bitumen, rainy season and the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Buhari then thanked all the South East Governors, led by Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State as Chairman of the region, for their supports in delivering the project at the stipulated time.
He also commended the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority of Nigeria, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, National Airspace Management Agency and other agencies for their supports in spite of the lockdown.
In his remarks, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State commended the President for reopening of the airport at the stipulated time after closure of the airport a year ago.
Ugwuanyi described the airport as the best in the country because of upgrade of the runway to a Performance Based Navigational Equipment.
He noted that the equipment, being first of its kind, has the capacity to ensure flight landing in the night with lower visibility levels at the airport.
In his goodwill message, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, thanked President Buhari and the Minister for completing most of the projects started by former administrations.
Gbajabiamila, represented by Rep. Nkeiruka Onyejocha, a member of House of Representatives, pledged that the lawmakers would support the minister in his plan to improve the aviation infrastructure in the country.
The speaker said the House of Representatives would not hesitate to approve aviation fund brought before it with the speed of light.
Also, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, said: “By the time I arrived at the airport this morning, I was short of words with the state of the art equipment that was used at the airport.
“This is why I want to express my joy with the renovation that had been done to facilitate the socioeconomic activities in the state.
“I wondered how the aviation minister was able to achieve this feat in spite of the downfall in the crude oil price in the world.
“I am very delighted to be part of this historic occasion because aviation is the backbone to economic development in the country, and every part of this country deserves attention.
Also, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, said Enugu represents the East, just like Kaduna represents the North.
Nnaji appealed to the Aviation Minister to build a new international terminal and cargo terminal for the airport.
He promised to give the Minister all the legislative supports that would ensure that all airports in the country were upgraded to world class.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, said the reopening of the airport to domestic and international operations was a landmark achievement of this administration.
NAN reports that other notable dignitaries at the occasion included the Director-General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu; Managing Director of NAMA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu; and Chief Arthur Eze.