Cross River Airport To Commence Operations In 2021

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Cross River Airport To Commence Operations In 2021

The proposed Cross River Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport is set to become operational with effect from next year following the payment of N900 million compensation to affected landowners in the communities.

The Commissioner for Aviation, Dr. Jake Otu Enya, said in a statement on Monday that “the major area of work is what you see going on now, that is the runway, and immediately that work is done, the next stage is for the contractor to be on site.

“You’ll recall that sometime last week, we opened our bid for the procurement of a contractor to come to site to do the real construction. So what we are doing here is the preliminary which is part of our own work as a state, in order to reduce the cost of the entire construction.

“The major assignment in an airport, not just here but all over the world, is the runway and the state in which we have reached is such that by the time the contractor comes in, he’s only out from here till the end. So basically, we are looking at the year 2021 for this airport to be completed and indeed, being functional or operational. So that’s our timeline for this”.

“We acquired this area – about 1,500 hectares of land. The compensation for it has been paid to the five communities that own the land. We paid almost N900 million compensation which was approved by His Excellency and the State Executive Council. We have gone into the real work; we started by clearing this side.

“We have cleared the entire site, we’ve done the stomping, we’ve done the packing. Now, the work going on now is the runway – the cutting and filling of the runway. The runway itself is about 5.6km in length and a width of 1km. So it is our very key determination that we are going to succeed and deliver this airport in no distant time.

“As an international airport, it is not just for passengers, it is also for cargo. So, we estimate that there is no type of plane that cannot land here. That is the truth about it. Even the ones we’re procuring. We’ve procured Boeing 737, which is very okay for cargo and all of that. So, it can land here.

“This airport would serve the generality of Cross riverians and also the neighbouring states of Benue, Taraba, Imo, Ebonyi and the rest of them. Well, the process of procurement is completed. I assure you that we have paid and everything is done about it. We have two aircrafts on ground and we are only waiting for delivery to Cross River.”

On funding, he said, “Cross River state in the state we are, ordinarily we would not deliver. But behold, it is one of the greatest things we have in Cross River State that is the intellectual property of our boss – our governor. He takes challenges and situations like this, this is where he knows how to showcase himself the best.

“Here, we’ve had some key capital projects from the beginning of his administration, but by the budget of 2021, the centerpiece of that budget is on humanity and also, few capital projects that would utilize the resources we have to definitely pursue them.

“If you look at the budget, the project like the Super Highway is no longer there which would have had the chunk of our finances. What we have, by our own internal sources and the little we still have in the federation account, we would definitely complete it. Because we carried out a thorough financial assessment of what it entails before we went into it.

“So we’re very confident that with the reduction in the number of capital projects in the 2021 budget, given also that Obudu International Passenger & Cargo airport took the lion share of capital provision, we’re quite confident that we would finish this airport.”

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