Akwa Ibom Airport: Governor Umo Eno Expresses Disappointment In Obong Victor Attah

Akwa Ibom Airport: Governor Umo Eno Expresses Disappointment In Obong Victor Attah

Akwa Ibom Airport


OpenLife Nigeria reports that a former governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, and the state government have exchanged words over the absence of functional landing lights for night flights at the state-owned Victor Attah International Airport (VAIA), Uyo, as earlier reported in Vanguard.

Attah, who originated the airport named after him, is livid that the maintenance, repairs, and operations (MRO) project, which would have improved the government’s revenue derived from the airport investment has not been completed, contrary to the set plan.

The state government, responding to the comments of the elder statesman through the Commissioner for Information, Ini Ememobong, expressed disappointment at the former governor’s comments, advising the citizens to seek updates before speaking on a matter of such a nature.

Former GovernorAttah narrates a personal experience

However, Attah, who shared a personal experience, narrated his suffering when his flight from Lagos to Uyo, scheduled for 5.30 pm was cancelled because the runway lights were not working, limiting the Uyo Airport to daylight flights only.

“I really cannot understand. This is your main gateway. How can you not make sure it serves its purpose? Night flights are really what most airports depend on.

“We started an MRO project supported by all the world’s leading authorities on MRO, that it is a necessary facility for the West African sub-region. To date, it is not operational.

“I do not want to feel that I am criticizing anybody, I am just wondering if these things we say are not necessary or that the concept was wrong or they should not have been prioritized.

“I believe they were and would have thought one should have continued with them, but my worry is why they have not done these things or what they have done that is better.

“It reminds me of those days when we did not have mobile telephones in the country. We used to drive to Calabar to make overseas calls; you can only communicate with countries with the same daylight time as yourself. It was a serious setback.

“I do not see how after these number of years, we have not been able to do the Ibom Deep Seaport, because I know for sure and this is without any debate or argument, the Lekki thing or Badagry thing that you see is copied from the concept we had from the Ibaka Deep Seaport and an Industrial City, and they have come alive and working, but we have not even built the port yet. Those types of things bother me and I feel pained about it.

“The Science and Technology University I started and had a good reason for starting was converted into a conventional university.

“I do not see how that has benefitted us more than a university of technology. Particularly, the concept of a university of technology we had was a research-based university, which was why we chose the waterside as its location.”

Coupled with his successors’ abandonment of the Ibom Science Park project that he initiated 21 years ago, and equipment for the project worth about N2 billion rotting away, among other critical initiatives, Attah, an architect, is wondering if the legacy projects he introduced were not worth completing and sustaining.

Governor Umo Eno Attacks  Attah

Commissioner for Information, Ememobong, who slammed the ex-governor, said:

“The Akwa Ibom State Government, owners of the Victor Attah International Airport in Uyo, affirm that our airport is safe and fully operational, with its airfield lighting and all other safety appurtenances intact and functional.

“The current sunrise to sunset operations approved by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) are in place to facilitate completion and integration of the rapid exit way at the two axes of the active runway of the airport.

“In line with international standards, construction works of such nature take a minimum of six to eight weeks. Completion of the rapid exit way is critical to the taxi way becoming fully operational.

“As soon as the construction works are completed, the airport will revert to regular scheduled operations. The current administration led by Pastor Umo Eno is dedicated to maximizing the state’s potential in the aviation industry.

“The MRO and other critical infrastructure at the airport are currently receiving priority attention and the contractors are on site working assiduously to ensure timely completion. Significant resources have been committed and reflect the current reality in our state.

“The general public is assured of the safety of the Victor Attah International Airport and commentators are encouraged to seek updated information before making public statements on related matters.”

Diversion to Port Harcourt Airport

Notwithstanding his outrage against the former governor, Ememobong did not controvert Attah’s claim that the MRO had not been completed. He merely said contractors were on site.

In Nigeria for last month’s World Cup Qualifier match against the Super Eagles, the South African team allegedly could not fly directly to Uyo, the venue for the encounter because of sundry operational lapses that Attah complained about.

The team was diverted to land at the neighboring airport in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Many other travellers have had similar experiences with the absence of landing lights at the Attah Airport.

Akwa Ibom Airport: Governor Umo Eno Expresses Disappointment In Obong Victor Attah
Former  Governor Obong Victor Attah



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