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    Ebonyi Seeks N10 Billion to Acquire Airport Equipment

    The Ebonyi State government has made a request for a loan of N10 billion from the federal government, which it would use to acquire airport equipment, as it does not have enough funds to complete work on the airport project.

    The state government in a letter with reference: GOV/EBS/FE/2.17/1/312 dated September 7, 2001 and addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika with title, "Re: Notification of My Letter to Mr. President Seeking His Financial Assistance to Purchase Our Airport Equipment" and signed by Governor David Umahi, stated that the state is building major airport in the country and needed money to acquire equipment to complete the work.

    "We are building one of the largest airports in Nigeria, using concrete to build the runway. We intend to complete this project by May, 2022, but we do not have the money to buy the airport equipment, hence our appeal to Mr. President for Ten Billion Naira (N10, 000, 000, 000.00) to purchase the equipment.

    "We shall handover the airport to the Federal Government on completion to concession and supervise."

    The letter also stated, "I plead with you for your kind help in recommending to Mr. President to assist us when Mr. President refers our letter to you. Recall all your assistance to us towards the realisation of this project. This your latest anticipated assistance will help to complete the airport and will allow Mr. President and you to commission the project to the credit of Mr. President administration."

    Reacting to the request, industry source described the Ebonyi airport project as a wasteful project "to steal money. It is a needless project that will just fritter away scarce resources."

    Speaking in the same vein, aviation expert and the Managing Director/CEO of ABX World, a cargo freighting company, Captain John Okeakpu said that the airport is located at the approach of Enugu airport, "just by approach end of functioning Enugu International Airport. The state government is targeting 80 per cent of all Enugu inbound passengers and cargo, which are heading to Anambra."

    "For heaven's sake why do I have to land in Ebonyi airport and commute for about three hours plus all the elements to Anambra instead of Enugu and commute for way less than two hours. Anambra has built one of the best airports in Nigeria, now you tell me what is going to happen? This is another big time "BLUE SKY PROJECT". I am seriously in cargo business, which is my primary investment, believe you me, this is dead on arrival for that state. Will not list any statistics to justify it," Okeakpu said.

    But former Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Dr Richard Aisuebeogun, said there was nothing wrong to build airport to support the agrarian economy of most states, but what is important is to have the human resources.

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