State governors from the South-East geopolitical zone have called for the provision of emergency funding for the speedy rehabilitation of the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The governors said emergency funding was preferred to regular budgeting, which they argued could delay the project.
The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Mr Dave Umahi, presented the request to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Thursday.
Umahi held a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
However, he shared the issues discussed at the meeting with State House Correspondents.
According to him, the zone is concerned about the timeline for the completion of the project, especially since the Christmas season, when most south-easterners travel to their hometowns, is approaching.
Umahi also stated that the governors appealed for the expansion of the runway to accommodate bigger aircraft.
He said, “During the repairs of the Abuja Airport runway, emergency funding was provided for the project.
“We are seeking a similar intervention for the Enugu Airport to be made available to the Minister of Aviation (Mr Hadi Sirika) for the project.”
However, Umahi commended the Federal Government’s decision to shut the airport after he did a letter to Buhari, adding that the timely decision saved a lot of lives.
“I am happy about it; the lives of many people have been saved. The airport was in a very deplorable state,” he said.
The governors urged the Federal Government to carry out urgent repairs on all roads leading to the Owerri Airport in Imo State, which would serve the zone in the absence of the Enugu Airport
Umahi noted that the governors moved in to place a ban on the herdsmen to contain the killings, which he said were carried out by foreign herdsmen.
“These people are not the traditional herdsmen that we know, who have lived with our people for so many decades.
“These ones don’t even speak Hausa or Fulani languages; they are foreigners,” he said.
Umahi further stated that on all the issues raised, Buhari gave his assurances to intervene.
Meanwhile, Umahi has slammed the Indigenous People of Biafra for daring to place a travel ban on South-East governors and other top politicians from the zone.
The governor, while responding to questions by State House Correspondents, mocked IPOB, saying he would inform the members anytime he planned to travel out of Nigeria.
“IPOB have no powers to place a travel ban on governors or anyone. I will even tell IPOB anytime I intend to travel,” he stated.