The airports in Nigeria have been a source of complaints for many citizens of the country as it is believed that most of them, including those with international status, operate below the world standard. The Federal Government has been trying to salvage the situation by making sure different airports around the country step up in their services. One airport that seems to be touched by the government’s recent effort to make things right is the Enugu airport which the Federal Government plans to downgrade from an international status to a local airport. Apparently, not everyone seems to be on board with this. One of these groups is the youth wing of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the South-South region of Nigeria.
The South-South Coordinator, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing, Chief Chinedu Ugwa Authur, berated the Federal Government plans to downgrade the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from its international status to a local airport following safety concerns. Arthur, who described the airport as strategic because of its location and economic importance to the South East, urged the federal government to stop considering the downgrading of the airport as a matter of urgency.
He said: “This airport is strategic in its location due to its economic importance, you cannot downgrade an airport linking a zone. The Enugu State Governor had since ordered the relocation of Orie Emene Market, shut down the nearby abattoir and ordered the immediate removal of the broadcasting mast and other illegal structures on the approach of the airport.
Speaking about this issue, the coordinator said; “We want the federal government to be fair to all because a problem amongst the Igbos or other regions, so, they should not take us for granted. One of the reasons the IPOB want to take their own country is because of all these issues, which is resulting in the marginalisation of the Igbos. Trying to downgrade an airport linking the South East, instead of upgrading as it is done elsewhere; they should try to upgrade whatever is bad or wrong in the airport. As you can see international flight lands here, Onitsha International market is here, Innoson motors is here and other companies that are operating in Enugu, so no reason for the downgrading. If they succeed that means they are telling us that we are not part of this country, even the Igbo elders are not happy with the situation.”