Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo and other top government functionaries on Saturday, May 18, 2019, received Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was on his way to Abuja, at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
This is as the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, same Saturday, hailed the urgent steps taken by the Enugu State Government to improve safety at the Airport.
Addressing aviation correspondents at Ikeja, Lagos, Sirika said that he was excited to see that the Enugu State Government had seen reason with the aviation ministry to address safety concerns at the airport promptly.
“We are appreciative that in the name of safety, the Enugu State Executive Council approved the immediate closure of Orie Emene Market, including the abattoir, to forestall any tragedy at the airport.
“We are also happy that the council also ordered immediate removal of all illegal structures encroaching on the land of the airport, including the radio mast of the state broadcasting service and the free trade zone.”
Sirika said, however, that it would be extremely comfortable if the directives issued by the State Government were carried out immediately.
According to him, carrying out the directive will give the aviation ministry an impetus to carry out repairs and to expand the runway of the airport.
On May 17, the minister announced that the Federal Government might downgrade the airport from handling international operations because of issues relating to the runway of the airport.
Sirika stated that there were many issues around the airport that posed security and safety threats to flight operations.
Meanwhile, the Enugu State Government has directed officials of Enugu East Local Government Council to find a suitable site for the relocation of Orie Emene Market.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr Ogbuagu Anikwe, disclosed this on Saturday while briefing newsmen in Enugu.
Anikwe said that the directive followed the immediate closure of the market following concerns by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The FAAN had threatened to either close down the Airport or withdraw its international status.
The Minister of State, Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, had during the 6th Stakeholders Forum held in Lagos on Friday, complained about the presence of the market close to the airport which he said attracted birds.
Sirika was quoted as saying that the presence of birds which caused constant bird strikes and the wrong placement of the state radio mast directly facing the run way posed security and safety challenges to the airport.
The minister also complained about the runway of the airport.
However, the state government shortly after the news, moved swiftly to announce the immediate closure of the market and the adjoining abattoir.
The commissioner said that the state government also ordered immediate removal of illegal structures that encroached on the land of the airport.
He said that the move was to ensure the safety of air travelers and people residing around the airport.
“The State Executive Council directs the LGA chairman to effect immediate closure of the market,” he said.
Anikwe recalled that the state executive council had on Oct. 12, 2018, approved funds for relocation of the Enugu State Broadcast Service mast on the approach of the runway.