Governors from the Southeast region of the country, under the auspices of the South-East Governors’ Forum, on Tuesday, wrote President Muhammadu Buhari on issues bothering on the closure of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, and the incessant attacks on the people of the region by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The Governors asked Buhari to approve their earlier resolution banning herdsmen without cattle and movement of cattle by foot in the zone.
A letter which was addressed to the President was signed by Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi.
In the letter, the governors demanded a postponement of the closure of the airport, saying that this will enable them to make adequate arrangements for airport users in the zone as well as carry out some remedial works in the Airport.
Recall that the Federal Government, through the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, General Manager in charge of Corporate Affairs, Henrietta Yakubu, had at the weekend revealed that it will close the runway at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for major repairs and works on the airfield.
The Governors said the move was prompt and will not give them any time to make adequate security arrangement for the convenience of the people and visitors to the zone.
They said that the Federal Ministry of Works in collaboration with the Southeast Governors’ Forum should be directed to carry out palliative repairs on the major roads leading to the alternative airports as well as clear all the bushes along the routes for a better view of road users.
The Governors asked that 24-hour joint security patrol be provided for the safety of the people and visitors to the South East who will be using the roads day and night through the alternative airports.
The letter reads “the Southeast Governors’ Forum highly appreciates Your Excellency Mr. President for granting our request for the immediate resurfacing of the tarmac and extension of the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for public safety.
“May we use this opportunity to also thank you for the consistent progress of works at the Second Niger Bridge in Onitsha and other federal government projects in the South East especially the completion of the Zik’s Mausoleum in Onitsha and 2.8 megawatt solar power plant at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo in Ebonyi State.
“As we thank you, Mr. President, we are constrained to ask for your kind intervention in the observations we have made to the Federal Ministries of Transport (Aviation sector) and Works on the closure of the airport for the renovation works.
“Your Excellency, in our letters to the respective ministries, we observed that the notification of the closure was prompt giving us no time to make adequate arrangement for the security and convenience of
“our people and visitors to the South East who will be traveling long instances to alternative airports where flights will be diverted to.
“We request that the closure of the airport be deferred to the end of October 2019 to enable adequate arrangements to be made for the security of the airport users and for few remedial works within seven (7) days to be carried out at the tarmac to ensure safety.
“That Mr. President do approve the earlier resolution of the southeast Governors banning herdsmen without cattle and movement of cattle by foot in the zone to eliminate increasing cases of killing, maiming, raping of our women, the kidnapping of our people and the destruction of our farmlands mostly carried out by foreign herdsmen and in most cases with the backing of some compromised local herders.
“We plead with Mr. President that we publish this letter to assuage our people’s feelings who erroneously think that no efforts are being made by the leaders of the South East to tackle insecurity and economic challenges facing the zone and to let them know that her leaders before now have been working very hard without making noise as issues of security must not be discussed in the public.”
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