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Upgrade: Akanu Ibiam Airport To Be Shut Soon by Nchara: 7:25pm On Nov 12, 2009
Upgrade: Akanu Ibiam Airport to be shut soon
From Christopher Iziguzo in Enugu, 11.12.2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009

Following the award of a N4.2 billion contract for the upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam airport, Enugu to an international status by the Federal Government, arrangements are currently underway to temporary close the airport in the next few weeks in order for the work to commence.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who made the announcement while speaking with newsmen shortly after playing host to the leadership of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Aninri local government chapter, stated that the contract which is also expected to be executed within weeks would ultimately uplift the status of the airport.

He assured that adequate plans had been made to allocate more aircraft to the Sam Mbakwe Airport , Owerri, while arrangements for helicopter services had been made to cushion the effect of the airport closure.

“In the next couple of weeks, the Akanu Ibiam Airport will be upgraded to an International Airport . The upgrading will gulp about N4.2 billion. I’m not sure of the exact amount but it will be within N4 or N4.2 billion. More flights will be taken to Owerri to take care of the envisaged traffic congestion,” he said.

Ekweremadu, who used the forum to react to the Senate retreat which is expected to kick off in Enugu today, noted that it had become the policy of the Senators to always take out time to retool with the sole aim of building their capacity as to be able to meet up with the challenges of lawmaking in the country.

He also disclosed that the giant strides of Governor Sullivan Chime within a short period of time informed his resolve to influence his fellow Senators to grant Enugu state the chance to host the retreat, noting that other zones, including the South-south and the North West had hosted the retreat in the past two years.

The lawmaker further disclosed that the retreat would also afford the Senators the opportunity of appreciating the challenges facing the south east zone, since the Senators would be divided in groups to tour all the states in the zone.

He expressed dismay over the environmental challenges facing the area, especially the issue of coastal and gully erosions, stating that within the period of the retreat, the lawmakers would have a first-hand knowledge of the situation, adding that if nothing urgent was done to address the development, the zone might be highly vulnerable to higher environmental degradation.

While expressing optimism that the Senate would give due attention to the disaster after its visit to the areas involved by approving more budgetary allocations to the zone to combat the scourge, Ekweremadu said: “we have agreed to visit erosion sites in the South East zone.

We have divided ourselves into groups to carry out the assignment and I’m hopeful that that the disaster will be given due attention.”

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