Senate opposes planned downgrade of Enugu Airport
The Senate on Thursday asked the federal government to stop the planned downgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The upper also urged the government to take immediate steps to rehabilitate the runway of the airport for the safety of passengers and aircraft.
It said the government should complete the new terminal building of the airport and put it to use by local and foreign airlines.
A former minister of state for aviation, Hadi Sariki, was reported to have hinted that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu would be downgraded due to imminent dangers.
The Senate resolutions followed the adoption of a motion by Senator Victor Umeh and 14 others titled “The threat to downgrade Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu”
The senators urged the Federal Ministry of Transportation and relevant agencies to develop a source of water with the nearby Ekulu River for the use of the airport.
The senate lauded Enugu State government for swiftly demolishing and ordering the relocation of Orie Emene Market, shutting down the nearby abattoir and ordering the immediate removal of broadcasting mast and other illegal structures close to the airport.
The senate urged the ministry of transportation to return the generating set taken away from the airport to Port Harcourt Airport, allegedly by a former minister of transport, Rotimi Amaechi.
Senator Shehu Sani in his contribution noted that the reality of Akanu Ibiam Airport is not only used by the people of South East.
The Kaduna central senator said that the airport is not only international but a strategic airport.
He said that strategic airports located in different parts of the country should be well funded.
Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano north) said that pressure should be mounted on the Federal Government to construct the airport runway to give it a new phase of life.
Senator Barnabas Gemade (Benue North East) said that the Federal Government should ensure that air travel is safe especially as road travel becomes more hazardous.
Gemade said that the talk about downgrading is anti-climax.
He insisted that no part of the country should be the backyard of the country.
Senator Kabiru Gaya said that there was no reason for any airport to be neglected.
The Kano South senator noted that instead of downgrade, the airport should be upgraded.
“If other airports are not downgraded why this one” he asked.
Deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu who presided noted that the concern about the airport is genuine.
Ekweremadu said that the issue of Akanu Ibiam Airport had been taken to high places without any action.