It was pure excitement and joy as Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu reopened last Sunday for commercial flight, exactly one year and six days after it was closed for runway expansion and general rehabilitation.
According to reports by guardian.ng, there was loud drumming from several musical and cultural troupes as well as the long wait for the ceremony to show how valuable the re-opening was the the south east region of Nigeria.
There was a large turn-out of Igbo leaders, including four governors of the South East, Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by the President General, Nnia Nwodo; traditional rulers; religious leaders , National Assembly members, serving ministers and the academia among others .
Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, who also announced the immediate resumption of local and international flights on September 5, stated that N1 billion had been released for ongoing renovation work at the terminal buildings of the local and international wings.
The runway was expanded to three kilometres to accommodate bigger aircraft. He stated that the airport was closed on August 24 last year due to its dilapidated state, adding that the extended runway came with a taxiway, car park, fencing, terminal building rehabilitation, instrument landing facilities, Communication VSat, New DHF radio and airfield lightning for night operation, among others.
“With these achieved, we will now focus on delivering the terminal and cargo buildings while ensuring that we give this place the best in line with international best standards,” he added.
Sirika, who was full of gratitude to President Muhammad Buhari for the timely release of N10 billion special grant for the project, said that several challenges like lack of bitumen, drainages, lockdown as well as the sale of the construction company PW were faced during the rehabilitation work.