The Minister for Aviation, Captain Hadi Sirika, has said that a definite date for the re-opening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, would be announced on his next visit to the site.
Sirika said this in his official Twitter handle yesterday (Monday) that despite the lockdown and closure of airports over COVID-19, work has resumed at the Enugu Airport and a resumption date will be announced soon.
“We announce our full remobilisation to Enugu despite COVID-19 lockdown. Even with challenges like heavy rains and opening up of quarries and bitumen sources, we should complete this procurement in few weeks. A definite date of completion will be announced at my next site visit,” Sirika said.
The minister had in March announced the Federal Government’s inability to meet up with the Easter deadline for completion of the runway, saying the reconstruction has been suspended. The minister disclosed this after an inspection tour of the project, attributing the decision to suspend work to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sirika, who arrived the airport with Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Yadudu, aboard a police chopper with registration number 5N-LEH, explained that the project, which he said is about 90 per cent completed, would have been delivered but that the workers had to leave to be with their families.
“Considering that the construction workers have downed tools owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government, hereby, officially announces suspension of procurement. The work would have been completed in six to seven days, but the workers left to be with their families in view of the social distancing,” Sirika had stated.
While appealing for understanding on the part of the South-East people, the minister expressed the hope that the issues would be resolved. Earlier, on January 23, 2020, he said that the Federal Government was on course to ensure that the rehabilitation of the airport is completed and would be open for flight operations before Easter.
On his official Twitter handle, he said they were on course to open the airport before the Easter celebrations.