Friday, June 14, 2024

 

‘My Job Is Done’, Says Fayemi As First Aircraft Lands At Ekiti Airport

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There was wide jubilation in Ekiti State on Saturday as the state Agro-Allied International Airport in Ado-Ekiti was inaugurated for public use shortly after the first aircraft landed at the facility.
The first aircraft, ATR 42 Nigeria Air Force, piloted by Flight Lieutenant E.A. Balogun, landed at the airport’s runway at exactly 10.20 a.m/ amidst cheers and excitement by eminent guests, government officials, and residents who came to witness the historic occasion.

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who performed the official inauguration of the airport, was among the personalities on board of the aircraft which flew from Abuja to make the historic landing in Ekiti State.

Speaking on the development, the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, expressed satisfaction with the completion of the project ten years after its conception during his first administration in 2012.

Fayemi, while speaking before the commissioning of the airport which is expected to boost export of agricultural produce, service educational and health institutions, and tourism potentials in the state, said: “My job is done, Ekiti Kete.”

The governor said the inauguration of the airport was in fulfillment of his promise to continue to work for the people of the state, noting that the project was completed despite the limited resources available to the state.

He stated that his administration defied the challenges of COVID-19 which affected global, national and state economies to ensure that the dream of the airport became a reality which culminated in the test landing of the first flight on his last day in office.

Governor Fayemi recalled that the move to start the project began during his first tenure in 2012 with a Committee on the Viability of the Airport led by a legal luminary, Afe Babalola, raised by his then administration noting that the Committee submitted its report in 2012.

According to him, his first administration through the State Executive Council considered and approved the report submitted which was accommodated in its plan for the 2013-2015 Medium Term Sector Strategy but the plan was halted by his exit from office after the 2014 governorship election which placed the project on suspension.

The governor said his successor, Ayodele Fayose, embraced the idea to continue with the project but it was not completed until his tenure ended in 2018.

Fayemi added: “Upon my assumption of office in 2018, I appointed aviation experts and industry-related officials to kick-start the implementation of the project. They made several advocate visits to communities in order to meet the requirements for the establishment of the airport.

“The administration took the following steps; we secured the approval, the revalidation of approval from the Federal Ministry of Aviation. We also secured the Department of State Services (DSS) clearance, we paid all the necessary fees for the construction, planning and certification to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and conducting Environmental and Sustainability Impact Assessment.

“As a government that adheres strictly to the rule of law with unwavering respect for the rights of our people, we made several appeals to communities affected for enumeration of their farmlands to ensure commensurate monetary compensation is paid on their crops.

“To this end, a total of 669 claimants were duly compensated out of those that presented themselves for the exercise. We acquired 4,017 hectares of land from nine communities: Ago Aduloju, Aso Ayegunle, Bolorunduro, Igbogun, Araromi, Obbo, Afao, Orun, Igbemo and Ijan covering three local government areas in the state.

”The governor further assured the people of the state that the dilapidated federal roads would be given attention to bring relief to their users and complement the newly inaugurated airport project.

Speaking, Sirika, who described the airport as “an extremely very important project”, said the Federal Government would site a cargo facility at the airport.

The minister said this would help facilitate import and export of goods and commodities.

On his part, the Chairman of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Zhang Zichen, praised Governor Fayemi for the project, which he said would change the face of the state economy.

Zichen, who said the airport is not just a project but “the engine of the economy of the state”, stated that it would open up Ekiti to more development and investment to the benefit of the state and business community.

The CCECC boss, who also described the airport as a “landmark project”, said it was among notable projects completed by its corporation.

Dignitaries present at the event included the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo; the wife of the governor, Bisi Fayemi; the deputy governor, Bisi Egbeyemi; Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Funminiyi Afuye; among others.

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