…urges FG to uplift Ibadan Airport
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, asked the Federal Government to take necessary steps to uplift the standard of the Ibadan Airport, declaring that making Ibadan a regional airport will benefit the state and the national economy.
The governor, who stated this while hosting the Joint National Assembly Committee on Aviation, led to his office by the Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, however, said that the state government has commissioned a study that clearly showed that a Public, Private Partnership arrangement would fast-track the planned upgrading of the airport to international standard.
The governor said further that the state was willing to lead the charge to turn around the airport if the Federal Government would agree to hand it over.
He noted that the Ibadan Airport should readily serve as the alternate airport to Lagos, adding that instead of diverting international flights to Accra, Ghana, Ibadan would serve Nigeria better.
While enumerating possible benefits of the Ibadan airport if upgraded, Governor Makinde explained various efforts of his administration aimed at improving the standards of the airport, including the rehabilitation of adjoining roads as well as provision of basic facilities at the airport.
He called on the Federal Government to do more by collaborating with the state in its resolve to uplift the airport.
According to him, an upgraded Ibadan airport would not only impact on the state’s economy by expanding its business districts, the country would also benefit as the nation grapples to grow its non-oil economy.
He added that since the Federal Government was already thinking of concessioning the airports in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano, it could as well cede the Ibadan Airport to Oyo on a PPP.
While speaking, Senator Adeyemi commended Governor Makinde’s vision, which he said is helping to turn around the state’s economy.
Ha said that the committee already observed encroachment on the airport land and the need to enhance safety of the airport and upgrade its equipment.
He said: “We equally observed that there is need for extension of the run-way to meet up with international standard; again, the runway is calling for attention. So our coming here today is an eye opener to some of the situations that require urgent attention.
“As the legislature our duty is to call the attention of the executive to areas where they need to provide funding on one hand.
“Our duty is to make sure that we allow the executive to see areas where there is need for them to provide funding.”
Also speaking, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, also stressed the economic importance of upgrading the nation’s airports, particularly as an alternative to road transportation due to prevailing challenges of insecurity.
The delegation afterwards undertook an assessment tour of the Ibadan airport to evaluate its concerns.