The Director of Air Worthiness and Standards of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Engr. Ita Awak has revealed that the former administration in Akwa Ibom State, left an uncompleted, ill equipped building as maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the Ibom International Airport.
Awak who took to the social media to explain his earlier position on the development of the project, maintained that, “an unfinished building and or hangarage cannot be said to be an aircraft MRO.”
The former APC spokesman in the state explained that earlier in the year, he led a four man team in company of the former Governor, Obong Victor Attah and Management of the Ibom Airport Development Company on inspection of the project.
He said the team after the inspection visited the governor to inform him of what needed to be done on the facility that could serve the Repair and Maintenance of Aircraft in the African subregion.
According to him ” at the debriefing of the Governor, SSG, and His Excellency Obong Victor Attah were told the critical role which the facility could play in the aviation industry in the West African subregion if the government will summon the will to complete and equip it.”
Stating further he said, “for a facility to be so called, aside from the building/ housing, it has to be, depending on the aircraft it is envisaged to maintain, Repair and Overhaul be specifically equipped, tooled and populated with the properly skilled and credentialed technical personnel.”
Awak in his opinion said it was the responsibility of the government of Akwa Ibom State to prioritise the investment of the needed resources for the actualization of the MRO, claiming that he has always handled matters concerning the airport professionally anytime he was called upon.
It would be recalled that the immediate past governor and Senator Representing Ikot Ekpene senatorial district at various fora claimed to have built an airport with a complete MRO in the state.
Apart from the uncompleted building and ill-equip facility of the MRO were billions of naira were allegedly spent, investigations revealed though about N18 billion contract for the building of a permanent terminal building was signed with ALCON during the lifespan of that administration, there was nothing on ground to show such huge investment as work was still at the foundation level as at May 2015.
Emmanuel’s administration says it’s poised to complete the MRO and getting interested investors to manage it as a going concerns enterprise with a view to recouping government investment on the airport.
Meanwhile, it was it discovered that through efforts of the present government, the airport runway has been upgraded to category 2 even as the construction of the 3.5 kilometre taxi way has reached an advanced stage.
Investigations further revealed that Emmanuel’s government has also constructed a new 2×15kva power substation at the airport to transmit power directly from Ibom Power Plant in Ikot Abasi to the airport. This it was gathered has reduced expenses on over dependence generator to run the airport which was the situation for the past seven years. The state government during the presentation of 2019 appropriation bill to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly intimated that the government is working towards the establishment of Ibom Airlines as part of its industrialisation drive.