An aviation consultant, Jibrin Mohammed Bala averred that plane cannot land after 6:00 pm at Kwandare International Cargo Airport and the question to asked if this an Airport? A full fetched Airport should be busy place rendering services 24 hours, Rabiu Omaku Writes
The Kwandare International Cargo Airport that was kick-started for the past four years was nothing to write home about going by the former governor’s insistence to complete the multi-billion naira child’s-play called Airport.
The project was under stiff criticism by those that matter in Nasarawa State especially the opposition political parties did not allow a space for the deceit called Airport, the construction firm Messer” Tongyi” the construction giant as it claimed was an organized fraud by a former governor and his biological son to drain the resource of the State.
The said Company has no registration of incorporation even in China talk less of Abuja, Nigeria, a source from the State Ministry of Works and Transport has confided.
It could be recalled that on October 19th, 2015, the immediate past governor, Umaru Tanko Al-makura signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with an engineering company in Nigeria for the construction of the Lafia International Cargo Airport, the former Chief executive justified the project as dear amongst all the strings of projects he initiated just hinder agenda to use the project as a conduit pipe to divert tax-payers money into wasteful venture that has no direct impact on the lives of the citizenry.
Umaru Tanko Al-Makura while granting an interview in different fora maintained that has no regretted whatsoever to execute the multi-billion naira project. The Airport project which was flagged off on December 11th, 2015 amidst fanfare remains an open space with nothing to justify that chunk amount of money was expended in the open space.
The proposed cargo airport, according to available information, is to cost the State government a whooping N17, 599,797,729.34 billion Naira only.
By the treaty signed the partners had agreed to inject 75 percent of the total cost of the project and the Government of Nasarawa State is to provide 25 percent of the cost within six years.
The project which received a lot of criticism by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Hon Labaran Maku and the State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Hon. Francis Orogu has a sound and genuine agitation was turn down by hired crowd carrying placards in support of the unfeasible project. The opposition which is on the defensive side advised that the colossal amount of money should rather be channeled into rural roads and building of bridges as Nasarawa State remains an agrarian.
“The idea of this gigantic project was informed by my desire to create a formidable platform for transportation of both domestic and international passengers and goods for the socio-economic development of the state. It is also with the intention of serving as a means for easy evacuation of the abundant agricultural produce and solid minerals resources that are abundant in the state
Al-Makura said the N17bn project which was gulped up to N22bn is neither a luxury nor a waste of resources but a dream comes true, maintaining that the whole idea is borne out of the desire of the state to meet up with other states of the federation through development that have direct bearing on the lives of its people as affirmed that no amount of criticism can stop the Airport as he buttressed that the project must be completed and commissioned before his exit on May 29, 2019.
He announced that the most difficult aspect of the project which the runways have been completed. He listed some of the significance of Airport to the attraction of investors, serves as an alternative terminus to the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja as well as assist in the decongestion of the Airport.
His promise of constructing a link roads to join the Federal Capital Territory and the Airport which would take an hour to navigate as against the over three hours journey to Kaduna, he also added that the airport in Lafia is expected to witness robust patronage that will open vistas for more economic activities, employment generation and increased revenue, all the listed prospect of Airport project under governor considering the time frame of May 29th, 2019 as the actual time for completion is a story for the ghost. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura on different occasions averred that the project when completed, would alleviate the plight of intending pilgrims to the Holy land who have traveled elsewhere to board flights for pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia, is another project which huge resource was expended with less visible impact.
As of May 28th at about 2:45pm when the outgoing governor paid an inspection visit to the site, about 85 percent of the 2.4Km runway has been completed, which was the only feasible work at field called Airport while work at the control tower has for the past three weeks was stopped and no effort was made on the terminal, as this reporter can authoritatively say that the only available hanger at the terminal was still ongoing as few field workers were seen.
Another facility available was navigational equipment been powered by a semi-standby generator, the insisted revelation of taking-off from the Airport on May 29th, 2019 after the handing over ceremony from Kwandare International Cargo Airport whose control tower has not to be completed is a clear indication of political Airport.
This is even as he had earlier assured people of the state about his readiness towards construction and completing the airport in 12 months.
MY TAKE ON KWANDARE INTERNATIONAL CARGO AIRPORT
A visit by the entourage of the outgoing governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura to inspect the N22bn Cargo Airport ahead of VISUAL TEST FLIGHT scheduled for May 29th, 2019 which marked the handing over of mantle of leadership to his successor, Engr. Abdullahi Alhaji Sule was a tales by moonlight if going by the governor’s broadcast that the project was at 90 percent completion.
What I saw in the Airport is a gimmick, an eyesore and a complete waste of taxpayers’ money which supposed to be channeled into productive projects like building of rural roads to ease the trepidation faced by farmers during the rainy season, what I saw was a white elephant project.
To my imagination, I realized that the project was dissimilar to the broadcast of the outgoing governor at Nasarawa Broadcasting Services, Lafia, what Nasarawa State needed now is not an airport considering the proximity of the State with the Federal Capital and Makurdi Airport was are of no use.
To start with power supply, every Airport whether Cargo or Human needs electricity as a source of power, during the time of the visit no any effort was made to connect the site with the national grid.
An Airport needed a fence to prevent the intrusion of wild or domestic animals that may cause harm to a plane while taking-off or landing.
The landscaping alone of the Cargo Airport would consume a chunk amount of money and nothing was done to clear the field of all the debris.
What I saw on May 28th few hours to handing over is a total charade instead the money sunk into the unprofitable venture should be channeled to the construction of bridges and solid schools projects.
Other people are of the opinion that the well-built runways are better for driving school.
While others are looking at the importance of Cargo Airport to the economics of Nasarawa State.
Even the major route into the Airport was a mere surface dressing with dust.
The Airport project was vehemently resisted by concerted indigents of Nasarawa State especially the opposition political parties.
Labaran Maku, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and the State Chairman of the People’s Democratic party, Hon. Francis Orogu in a separate reaction kicked against the project which they referred to as a wasted effort to drain the hard-earned resource of the State.
The Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Alhaji Sule in his inaugural speech promised to complete the project which was just 20 percent completed by his predecessor 100 days in office.
The people of Nasarawa State would be keen to see the miracle of the governor, Sule to turn around all wrongs committed by the immediate past governor of the State, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura.
Only time shall tell.