*** vows to prosecute perpetrator
The federal government on Thursday expressed dismay at the destruction of the concrete perimeter fence, covering about 2km, being erected at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu by one Mr. John Emejulu.
Emejulu had claimed that he was in possession of a valid court order ceding the ownership of the area in question to him. The destruction of the fence according to him was part of the execution process of the order.
But, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika who visited the site on Thursday vowed to apply all lawful means to prosecute Emejulu.
He said the facility was being put in place in readiness for the opening of the airport by the end of August, noting that he had the mandate to ensure that government facilities were securely protected.
Speaking to newsmen after inspecting the site to ascertain the level of destruction, Sirika, expressed deep sadness that the perpetrator could take such an unlawful act by destroying a “national security asset”, at a time the federal government was in the course of delivering the Enugu airport, on August 30, as promised.
Narrating what transpired, Sirika disclosed that “while the procurement (of the Enugu airport rehabilitation) was going on, a certain individual by name Arch. J.J. Emejulu came with bulldozers and hundreds of armed thugs and destroyed more than 2km of our fence”.
The Minister, who described the action as unfortunate, unbecoming and unacceptable, said that “he (Emejulu) has given the government the opportunity to show how not to willfully destroy public asset belonging to over 200 million people”.
While reiterating the commitment of the federal government to the reopening of the Enugu airport on August 30, as earlier promised, Sirika, expressed dismay that in spite of the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, to bring the airport back to its glory, with the nation’s limited resources and “at this very austere time”, to contribute to trade and commerce as well as guarantee safety of air travelers, “a certain cantankerous individual appeared from nowhere with bulldozers and destroyed this national security asset”.
“It is a wrong time to test our resolve. The individual will certainly be dealt with maximally without recourse. I am sure he will regret doing this and of course this is also an opportunity for government to show that no one can take the law into his hands and willfully destroy national asset belonging to 200 million of all of us.
“This will certainly be the end of this kind of recklessness. We will not forgive him. The Chief of Air Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General, DSS, others, will be directed to do the needful and bring him to book, so that anybody who would contemplate doing something like this in future will have a rethink.
“We are government in place; we are not a lawless country; we are not in a banana republic, we are in the Federal Republic of Nigeria governed by laws. Certainly, this is not acceptable and I am sure that we are equal to the task of rising in defence of our national asset”, the Minister maintained.
Sirika who thanked President Buhari “for his wisdom to allow this procurement to continue by providing the money, also appreciated the South East Governors especially Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who he said “has helped us in this procurement and has responded to all our requests for the actualization of this laudable project”.
He noted that Gov. Ugwuanyi visited the site of the destroyed fence earlier and was at the airport to meet with him over the matter, stressing that it shows his level of commitment to the realization of the Enugu airport project.
Also on the inspection tour were the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command, NAF, Enugu, Air Vice Marshal Idi Amin, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Hamisu Rabiu Yadudu, the Enugu Airport Manager, Member representing Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, Hon. Prince Cornelius Nnaji, Mrs. Cecilia Oguama, the Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum Airport Rehabilitation/Palliative Works Committee, Engr. Chris Okoye, the Enugu State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Greg Nnaji and his Information counterpart, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh.
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