National Assembly To FasTrack Construction Of Intl. Airport In Ogun - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Saturday, March 6, 2021

National Assembly To FasTrack Construction Of Intl. Airport In Ogun

 ... As Governor Abiodun Maintains Ogun Needs Agro-Cargo Not Passenger Airport

                       •Cargo Plane

Ayobami Ife, Abeokuta

The National Assembly (NAS) at the weekend pledged to fast track the process that would lead to the construction of International Airport in Wasimi, some kilometres away from Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.

The Assembly made the pledge when the Senate Committee on Aviation, led by Senator Smart Adeyemi visited the construction site in Wasimi area of the state.

This is coming less than 24 hours after Governor Dapo Abiodun had earlier disclosed that his administration would continue with the plan to construct an agro-cargo airport in the state.

Abiodun  told the Senate Committee on Aviation led by Senator Smart Adeyemi, in Abeokuta that the agro-cargo airport project, conceptualized by the Otunba  Gbenga Daniel administration in 2007, has lots of potentials in the overall development of the Gateway State state  and the country.

However, on Wasimi airport project in Ewekoro Local Government Area, The Daily Crucible recalls that the then administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun in the State had commenced the construction of it in 2018 and was meant to be completed in March 2019.

Speaking with newsmen after inspection of the site by the Senate Aviation Committee, Senator Adeyemi who is representing Kogi West Senatorial District at the Upper Chamber disclosed that the project was part of the Assembly's concern, adding that it had been occurring in the federal government's budget.

The Senator, though could not ascertain when the construction would be completed, he stressed that the federal government would consider all available means to ensure that the project sees the light of the day. 

"On the completion of the project, I cannot say anything, ours is to make sure that money that is appropriated for the project is spent on it. 

He hinted that Committee would meet the Ministry of Aviation for the continuity of the construction in due time.

Adeyemi said:"We cannot diversify the economy without partnering the aviation industry, the industry is fundamentals to development. Politics will not affect the project, what is important is the welfare of the people. It is obvious that this is a construction site for international airport. This is not a new project to the National Assembly, it's a project that  been in place before now. 

We are talking about diversifying the economy without partnering the aviation industry. The industry boss fundamentals to development. Politics will not affect the project, what is important is the welfare of the people.

"Wasimi airport is something that has been occurring in the federal government's budget. We are equally aware that there's another one that the state government is working on which we visited yesterday.

"We will sit with the Ministry of Aviation and discuss what we have seen and what we think should be the way forward.

"We have seen the site and we will go back and look at availability of funds as appropriated and if not FG will look at a other means through which the project can be supported. We are not going to be an obstacle to any projects. 

In his remark, Senator Ibikunle Amosun who is representing Ogun Central Senatorial District appreciated  the Committee lauded the commitment of Presidential Muhammadu Buhari toward the construction of the weekend.

"This is not the first time they will be coming here and I also want to appreciate  the support of President Muhammadu Buhari because if not for his support, we wouldn't have moved this project to this level. 

"For me, if it is possible for us to have ten airport, that's fine. By the grace of God, this airport will see the light of the day," he submitted.

However,  addressing the  Smart Adeyemi - led Senate Committee on Aviation earlier, Governor  Abiodun noted that the proposed location for the airport (passengers airport) has the largest cement factories in the country, and that those factories were emitting dust particles and pollutants into the sky.

He said what Ogun State yearned for is an agro cargo airport that will support its massive agro development potentials and the choice of Ilishan a unanimous one as  it complements the Agric/processing factories eco system in that corridor with access/egress road network.

The governor maintained that the people of the state entrusted his administration with qualitative representation to create the enabling environment for a public private sector partnership, which is fundamental to the creation of an enduring Economic Development and individual 

According to him, the decision to continue with the agro- airport project, located in Ilishan-Remo in Ogun East Senatorial District, was made by the state's joint inter-ministerial committee, which evaluated and placed  priority on it as against the Ewekoro passenger airport.

He also noted that a lot of verifiable work had started on the agro-cargo airport project, which had the approval of the federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

He, however, informed the committee that there were no details or information on the Ewekoro project in the handing over note of the Amosun's administration, saying it was shrouded in secrecy.

"This administration is deliberate and methodical. The need to have a Cargo airport was made by our joint inter ministerial committee and we consequently evaluated the initiatives that were started by previous administrations because government is a continuum. 

"After a thorough evaluation, the choice of the Airport cargo location in Ilishan was unanimous, it complements the Agric/processing factories eco system in that corridor with access/egress road network.

"To that extent, our decisions are guided by the principles of good governance; is it fair, just and equitable to all, is the process transparent and inclusive?, did the people input?, is it of economic important/value? will it possibly impact the life of our people? As we must hold ourselves accountable at all times. After-all,  the people are the essence of Governance and we are only holding the office in trust for them. 

"Again, government is a continuum, we are completing this project that was conceptualized by a previous administration same way we have completed other projects (like) roads, bridges, hospitals and schools that were started by the previous administration. Our decision are always based on the economic value and benefits to our people.

"Comparatively on the other proposed airport location, we did not find any details or information in any handover notes as it all seems to be shrouded in secrecy," Abiodun said.

Abiodun said that a committee led by the national president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), commissioned to investigate the proposed Airport, found out in its report that there was no approval for passenger airport by the ministry of aviation or the NCAA.

Besides, it was also found out that while some consultancies were awarded, there were no deliverables.

He, however  said that his government has redesigned the location for a more complimentary purpose to the factories as trailer/container transit terminal and park.

He solicited for the support of the Committee  for the first international cargo airport in Nigeria, adding that the first phase is expected to be completed by May 2022.

The State Commissioner for Finance, who doubles as Economic Adviser to the governor, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, in a presentation described the project as a viable one which according to him would unlock significant value addition opportunities across agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

"This cargo airport is located within the agricultural belt in the state and strategically located at the interconnection between the East -West highway (Sagamu-Benin) and the North -South highway (Lagos-Ibadan)," he added.

In his remarks, a member of the committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, representing Lagos West, maintained that Ogun needs a cargo airport more  than a passenger one, stressing that from the documents available, approval by relevant bodies were granted the State for Cargo airport and not passengers airport.

He added that the Committee would look into the project.

Another member, Senator Biodun Olujinmi promised that the Committee which was a fact finding mission would delibrate on it's findings about the two projects and come up with a report to be submitted before the Assembly.

1 comment:

  1. The truth has been said by the gov ernor and the senator representing Lagos district.