Members of the House of Representatives have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate commencement of works at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The lawmakers made the call while adopting a motion brought under matters of urgent national importance by the Deputy Minority leader, Toby Okechukwu, and 11 other lawmakers.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had in September announced that it had commenced the rehabilitation of the runway at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
FAAN had also on August 24 announced the closure of the airport, which is the only international airport in the South-east region, for the reconstruction of its runway.
Following the closure of the airport, international flights have been diverted to the Port Harcourt International Airport in Rivers by Ethiopian Airlines.
Similarly, domestic flights were diverted to the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, the Port Harcourt Airport, and the Asaba Airport in Delta.
Okechukwu noted that the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Hardi Sirika visited Enugu and after a meeting with governors and stakeholders in the South East, affirmed that the rehabilitation would be completed by Christmas 2019.
He said he was alarmed that six weeks after the closure of the airport, no rehabilitation or reconstruction work has begun at the airport even as there are no indications that the contractor would mobilise to site any time soon.
He expressed worries that arterial routes leading to other alternate airports or leading to the southeast are dilapidated and burden the travelling public.
“In spite of the December 2019 deadline which is fast approaching, no contractor has been mobilised to the site and no fund released for the rehabilitation works.
“The closure of the airport has exposed the travelling public to avoidable inconveniences and frustrated their ease of doing business.”
The deputy minority leader who was chairman of the house committee on works in the 8th assembly said the funding model for the renovation of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja would save Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from protracted closure.
“Akanu Ibiam International Airport is critical to the safety, economic and social lives of most Nigerians and foreign travellers,” he stated.
While adopting the motion which the speaker described as straightforward, the house further mandated its committee on Aviation to interface with the Minister of Aviation to ensure immediate commencement of works.
The lawmakers also called on the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing at the interim to expedite repairs of the major roads leading to the alternative routes and airports to alleviate the suffering of members of the public.