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|Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by ezeagu(m): 12:13am On Dec 01, 2009|
Enugu Airport Closed For Repairs
Lagos — The Minister of Aviation, Mr. Babatunde Omotoba, will today flag off the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Enugu State.
The airport, which was closed temporarily on Saturday for repairs, will be closed to traffic by January next year and airlines that operate to the airport will start using Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Imo State, as an alternative.
THISDAY learnt that the runway, which is 2,400 meters long, will be extended by 600 metres to make it 3000 meters or three kilometres and the width would be extended from the existing 45 metres to 60 metres.
When completed, it is expected that the runway would be wide enough to accommodate wide-body aircraft.
It is also expected that with its new status as an international airport, the airport would in future be designated for international operations.
The General Manager, Public Affairs of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Akin Olukunle, told THISDAY that the runway rehabilitation and extension contract was awarded to PW Limited and it is expected to be completed in 12 months from the day work starts on the project.
The cost of the project, which is N4.13 billion, was approved by Federal Executive Council (FEC) and would include extension and asphalting and marking of the runway.
According to him, this is part of the restructuring programme being embarked by the Ministry of Aviation and FAAN for the total rehabilitation of airport facilities in the country.
Last year, the Yar'Adua Administration upgraded the Enugu airport to international status in tandem with the new policy of having at least one international airport in every geopolitical zone of the country.
It is expected that chieftains of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would accompany the Ministry to the flag off ceremony as the South-East caucus of the party will be holding a meeting in Enugu same day.
THISDAY also learnt that work started on the Enugu airport on Saturday and the runway was closed to traffic from morning till 4.00 pm.
FAAN assured users that the airport would not be closed until after the new year because of the influx of traffic to the airport during the Yuletide, when airlines would increase their frequency to the South Eastern city.
Aviation expert, Chris Aligbe, commended the effort and said the upgrade of the airport was overdue because Enugu is the fourth busiest airport in the country, which deserves more attention than it is getting from the concerned agencies.
He also suggested that the international flights should be designated to international airlines because the airport is situated in the business hub of South-East.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by jona2: 12:25am On Dec 01, 2009|
More police checkpoints, more crime in the South-east
By Emmanuel Ogala
November 29, 2009 12:00AMT
The first thing a first time visitor to the Southern part of Nigeria will notice, besides the ubiquitous bad roads, is that there are security checks at almost every other kilometre of the road.
The road blocks are mostly manned by squads of police officers and a mix of police and military officers. The checkpoints also vary from point to point. Police officers in the South East use unsophisticated barriers like tree branches, logs and old tyres and tar barrels to barricade the road at such close intervals that they turn the road into a snaky, single lane.
At such checkpoints, the officers on duty first mentally size up the passengers. “If you look innocent, you are left to go. But if they don’t like your face, they will ask you to come down and ask you questions like ‘where are you coming from or where are you going to?’ and then demand for your license and registration documents,” Emeka Ngwu, a taxi driver in Enugu, said.
“Sometimes they ask every passenger to step down and they go in to search the vehicle. Some other times, they ask the driver and passengers to spread their arms apart while they search their body too.” Mr. Ngwu added.
The checks are ostensibly to fish out suspected criminals, especially kidnappers, so the efforts to secure the region. Yet, despite the heavy presence of security officers on all the main roads in the area, the south-east still remains, according to the police, the most insecure place to live in Nigeria.
“Those are the areas where we have the highest incidence of kidnapping right now,” Emmanuel Ojukwu, the national public relations officer of the Nigeria Police Force, said an interview with NEXT. “Now, we have isolated cases of kidnapping in some part of this country. But we have a preponderance in the South (East): Anambra, Imo, Abia (and) Edo state.”
Extortion or Security?
Drivers and other road users on these routes however said the officers that man these checkpoints do more than security checks. They say the officers are more inclined to intimidate, harass and extort money from them.
Linus Obum, who has been a commercial bus driver in Aba, a commercial city in Abia State, for more than 10 years, said it has almost become part of his daily routine to always put money aside for police officers at checkpoints.
“I drive Aba to PH (Port Harcourt) and sometimes to Owerri and I share at least N1000 to police officers at checkpoints on each trip,” he said. “If you no give them, they go waste our time sotee (till) your passengers go drop enter another bus.”
Mr. Obum claimed his dilemma is shared by every other bus or taxi driver in the region. At such checkpoints, the commercial drivers stop for either the bus conductor or the driver to run to a nearby patrol van with money in his hands and pay an officer sitting in the van, a ransom that allows them to progress to the next checkpoint where the ritual is repeated.
Are they effective?
Figures of security breaches across the nation question the efficacy of these checkpoints security-wise. Hillary Ugwuanyi, 42, a resident of Enugu, said the police pose more threat to the residents than even the criminals they claim to guard against.
“They can open fire on a civilian for just N20 at a checkpoint but disappear at the slightest appearance of criminals,” he said. “Most times, I wonder if they are paid to protect us or intimidate and extort us civilians.” Mr. Ojukwu, the police spokesman, however said the officers were doing their job well, especially in combating kidnappers. He also said the police have other crime combating strategies beyond road blocks.
“We have a number of cases whereby where we notice the demeanour on somebody, we subject the person to search and we have been able to rescue some victims, even along the roads,” he said.
“When they pick somebody (the kidnappers), they may not necessarily pass the main road. They can use foot paths or some routes which police are not manning. But that notwithstanding, we have rescued so many victims and we have arrested so many kidnappers and we shall keep arresting then.”
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by ezeagu(m): 12:26am On Dec 01, 2009|
Let it pain you well.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by THEAMAKA3(f): 3:17am On Dec 01, 2009|
i was just thinking about this some time ago.
maybe ill never have to cross through Lagos again if an airline like Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM, or even Delta Airlines will go through Enugu if they can get a serious upgrade.
maybe ill finally have an excuse to see Enugu.
hope Enugu will also service local flights to Owerri, even though its pretty close.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by OgidiBoy(m): 3:24am On Dec 01, 2009|
Just Imagine if British Airways and Lufthansa start operating in this Enugu International Airport. I can just fly out from Houston straight to Enugu without going through Lagos or Abuja. Wow!!
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by ezeagu(m): 7:01am On Dec 01, 2009|
Its really good news. I'm sure we will be flying world class international flights to and fro there soon.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by THEAMAKA3(f): 7:05am On Dec 01, 2009|
ezeagu:i hope that dream comes true, will make my travel hell of a lot easier.
Anambra is getting their own international airport done too, right? or is that one a local airport?
cause my first time in naija i came through port harcourt, the second time it was closed and we had to come in through lagos then take another flight. gosh, it was so horrible.
at least from port harcourt we could drive back to our place in maybe 2 hours, so it was a lot easier.
make sure they get real terminals too.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by ezeagu(m): 9:06pm On Dec 04, 2009|
I hope they make it world class.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by NoWee(m): 1:42am On Apr 18, 2010|
I live in the UK and Enugu is my destination whenever I visit Nigeria. I usually come through Abuja and take a flight to Enugu. I will soon travel to Enugu but I don’t know what to do now that Enugu airport is closed because of the ongoing upgrade.
Please, does anyone know the safest way to get to Enugu from Abuja? Is bus a good option? If yes, how many hours does it take to reach Enugu? And which bus depot is located near the airport?
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by deor03(m): 9:17am On Apr 18, 2010|
You've got 2 options or more. I did both last week.
Option 1: Fly to PH and drive to Enugu ( 4 hour drive + Police stoppages)
Option 2: Fly to Owerri and Drive to Enugu ( about 2 hours drive + Police stoppages)
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by ezeagu(m): 9:30pm On Apr 21, 2010|
Oh, so they're actually upgrading it? Great news if this is the case.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by SapeleGuy: 9:55pm On Apr 21, 2010|
This is good news, Nigeria needs more International airports. Nigerians should not be forced to go to Abuja or Lagos.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by smile4kenn(m): 10:50pm On Apr 21, 2010|
current enugu airport
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by 006(m): 3:53am On Apr 22, 2010|
It's long over due, I don't want to spell Lagos again.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by NoWee(m): 7:48pm On Apr 26, 2010|
Deor03, thank you very much for your response. It is highly appreciated.
Supposing that I fly to Owerri airport, where (which commercial vehicle depot) can I catch a ride to Enugu? And what is the best way to get to the depot from the airport?
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by Dede1(m): 8:11pm On Apr 26, 2010|
Not too fast, bros. I had wished the same thing too. The term, International Airport, does not worth more than the scratch of paper that contained it.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by Hardtalk(m): 9:42pm On Apr 26, 2010|
What kind of country is this? Common computerised notice board cannot be afforded by airport management, yet, people are jubilating International status!. Anyway, I am not surprised. Our own definition of International airport is removing the black board or paper, and now fixing another one with graphics design. As for the runway, it is another way of embezzling money. Soon, a probe panel will be set to investigate the over-bloated cost of changing their so-called status.
|Re: Enugu Airport Undergoes Upgrade For International Status by ezeagu(m): 8:27pm On Apr 27, 2010|
That's subject to any money being put in in the first place.
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