Enugu Airport Closure: Buhari wants to shut down South East economy – HURIDE

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… Says N10 billion released, not enough

The continued closure of Enugu International Airport by President Muhammadu Buhari has shown his hatred for Ndigbo and determination to shut down the economy of the zone.

The Human Right, Liberty Access and Peace Defenders Foundation (HURIDE), stated this in the statement issued in Enugu after its national executive council meeting during the weekend.

In the statement signed by the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), Dede Uzor A Uzor (JP), the group alleged that President Buhari’s body language and policy thrust were clear indication that he does not have the interest of Ndigbo especially for donating a paltry N10 billion against over N200 billion needed to make the said Enugu Airport Internationally accepted and in line with relevant extant laws guiding the institution after extensive pressure by some concerned Igbos leaders.

It contended that the Enugu International airport was shut down three months ago in spite of genuine efforts of Governor Ugwuanyi of Enugu State by closing down the market near the airport.

HURIDE lamented that since the closure, work has not started as no money was released to execute the project apart from the paltry sum of N10 billion released recently.

The group said the belated release of N10 billion by Buhari did not come until Igbo leaders led by the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo went to beg him to release money for the project.

Even then, it said the money was still a far cry from the amount needed for the project adding that when the works will start and end was still a mirage as it needed a time frame for its completion.

“Don’t be surprised the project may never start or even be abandoned if it starts at all. The present federal government wants to shut down South East economy.

“There have been deliberate efforts to sabotage the airport from the outset. Since its inception, only Ethiopian Airline plies the Enugu route. Other airlines eager to join the route were frustrated out”, said the group, because of the inability of the statutory departments to provide the necessary fund to accord it international status.

HURIDE said the entrenched marginalisation compelled Igbo traders who board the airline to pay more, a system which was not obtained in any other international airport in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Portharcout amongst others.

HURIDE however, said  since the President has released money, he should ensure the airport’s reconstruction be completed on or before December 2019 to serve as a  Christmas gift to Ndigbo and reduce the heavy traffic that will be experienced during the Yuletide.

The rights group also asked the federal government to expedite action on the construction of Second Niger Bridge and other roads projects in the region including building industries that would employ the teeming unemployed graduates.

Photo: President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria.

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