FG will support establishment of Ekiti airport, says Minister
•‘Airport Will Boost State’s Economy’
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said that the federal government would support everything about the airport project of the Ekiti State Government, particularly the cargo aspect of it, because of the good atmospheric condition of the state
This is just as Governor Kayode Fayemi said the project would strengthen and boost the economy of the state.The duo spoke in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, while flagging off the construction of the Agro- allied Airport project located along Ado-Ijan road.Sirika said airport project has been globally recognised as a catalyst for growth and development, saying that of Ekiti would not be an exemption, especially for being specially fashioned to play dual roles in air transportation.
“Airport project brings businesses and drive the economy. It employs and strengthens the economy, so we are going make success of this project. “The federal government will support everything about this project, particularly the cargo aspect of it, because the good atmospheric condition of Ekiti and the lurching vegetation and good soil will help to produce farm products that can be exported within and outside the country.
“The per capital income of N1, 060 for Ekiti shows how viable the state is economically, so siting of an airport is not by size alone, but by viability.
“Apart from this, Ekiti is 750 feet above sea level and in aviation industry, it is believed that this will help to produce good oxygen for airplane to perform optimally.
“The federal government is ready to support this project and it shall be a success,” he assured.Fayemi explained that the vision to construct an airport in Ekiti predated his administration, saying it began in 2008 when Mr. Tunde Omotoba was the minister of Aviation under the late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration, adding that the conceptualisation of the project made the federal government to set aside some funds for its construction in the 2009 budgetary provision.
“Despite this budgetary provision, the project could not materialise. In 2012, I set up a committee, headed by Chief Afe Babalola, to look at the possibility of establishing an airport in Ekiti and the committee came up with a report.“Having conceptualised the project, the African Development Bank (AfDB) had studied the long and short-term benefits of this project and has decided to support us in realising the dream.
“We got the letter of approval in May this year to start this project that will be built on 4,000 hectares of land and will be easily accessible by all Ekiti through the ring road that will be constructed around it.“Ekiti must be opened to national and international business patronages, to open up the economy and for Ekiti to become a medical tourism, with the landmark works being done at the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital.
“Though some people thought Ekiti is too small in size to have an airport, but commitment and vision are the tonic we need to make the project a reality to make Ekiti join the global industrial revolution.” Eminent lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), applauded the federal government and Fayemi for fulfilling part of the dreams of the founding fathers of the state upon its creation in 1996, noting that the project would translate to economic benefit for Ekiti now and for generations yet unborn.
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