Cross River State Government is continuing the construction of multibillion naira Obudu International Airport project despite caution to states by the Senate against embarking on airport projects, which it considered not viable and total waste of public funds.
Senator Smart Adeyemi, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Aviation, had, last week, during the presentation of his committee’s 2022 report for appropriation in Abuja, said apart from Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports, others were not viable and over N20 billion being spent by some state governors on construction of airports were not necessary as such money “would have been better channelled into welfare-driven projects and programmes for residents of the states.
“Governors should stop embarking on white elephant called state airport with the attendant waste of resources that should have been channelled into the welfare and livelihood of citizens,” he had said.
However, Commissioner for Aviation, Cross River State, Dr. Jake Otu Enyia, at the weekend, said the state was on course with the Obudu Passengers and Cargo International Airport project and that the second phase bidding was targeted at finishing the project in record time, with a view to be commissioned in 2022.
While addressing newsmen during the bid opening for the completion of the airport, Enyia outlined targeted areas to include furnishing of the entire airport, provision of water facility, provision of perimeter fence and access road.
Others are provision of solar plants, aviation fuel dump and every other thing not considered in the first procurement.
He said a successful completion of the exercise would put the state on a better pedestal to run its international airport, adding that the choice of the airport location is informed by its proximity to the British-Canadian University, the International reference hospital and famous Obudu Mountain Resort.
Meanwhile sources in government have put the unconfirmed spending so far on the airport project at over N27 billion, saying: “This airport project is not what we need now. We have an airport in Calabar and the Bebi airstrip in Obudu, so why do we waste public funds on this. Little money would have been provided to renovate or up grade the Bebi airstrip. We think this is just another conduit pipe.”