New Abia Airport: FG Inspects Site, Access Bank Partners

New Abia Airport: FG Inspects Site, Access Bank Partners

A Federal Government team from the Ministry of Aviation recently visited Abia State to inspect a proposed site for a new airport. This initiative has garnered the interest of Access Bank, which has expressed willingness to partner with the state government on the project, according to Governor Alex Otti.

Led by Dr Emmanuel Meribeole, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, the team aimed to ensure that the proposed site meets regulatory requirements. Dr Meribeole highlighted the Federal Government’s commitment to delivering the airport promptly, with various aviation agencies such as the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) involved in the inspection.

Meribeole praised Governor Otti’s leadership and mentioned that the Abia airport project is included in the 2024 Federal Appropriation Act as an airstrip. He acknowledged the capital-intensive nature of airport projects but emphasized the significant socioeconomic benefits, including job creation and revenue generation.

Nigeria government plan to build Airstrip in Umuahia, abia state
Nigeria government plan to build Airstrip in Umuahia, Abia state

Governor Otti expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for approving the airstrip in the 2024 budget. He assured that the state government plans to upgrade the airstrip to a full-fledged airport by collaborating closely with the Federal Government. Otti detailed the careful selection of the site, ensuring it meets all necessary criteria and engaging with landowners.

“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, has consented to setting up an airstrip in Abia and included it in the 2024 budget. Although the budget may not complete it, the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. We are grateful to him,” said Otti.

He also thanked the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, for his efforts in making the project a reality. Otti assured the Federal team of the state’s readiness to expedite the project, highlighting Abia’s eagerness as one of the last two states in Nigeria without an airport.

New Abia Airport FG Inspects Site Access Bank Partners
New Abia Airport FG Inspects Site Access Bank Partners

The visit by the Federal team coincided with one from Access Bank, led by CEO Roosevelt Ogbonna. Governor Otti welcomed Access Bank’s willingness to participate in the project to ensure financial liquidity, noting the bank’s experience with airport financing, as seen with the Ogun State Airport.

“Our attitude is not to borrow until it becomes necessary. If Access Bank has experience and has delivered on airport projects before, we can learn from their mistakes and build on their successes,” Governor Otti concluded.

KAZIE UKO
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
Abia State
Government House, Umuahia
May 23, 2024.

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