High Tension Erupts South East As Ebonyi indigenes reject proposed airport project

High Tension Erupts South East As Ebonyi indigenes reject proposed airport project

Indigenes of Ebonyi State in the Diaspora, on the platform of Organisation of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (OESID) have rejected plans by their state governor to embark on construction of an international airport in the state, describing it as “a white elephant project difficult to achieve at the moment.”

The group, however, called on Governor Dave Umahi, to prioritise projects that would have direct impacts on the people “not the one with ulterior motive.

In a statement signed by the spokesman, Ambassador Paschal Olochukwu Ogbonna, in Abuja, the group argued that although the estimated value of the project had not been made public, “it is trite knowledge that building an international airport usually involves colossal amounts of money which may not be available to the state government at the moment.

“Chances are, the resources would invariably be borrowed either locally or most likely from Chinese and other international financers. But even if these funds were available to the Ebonyi State government, we insist that spending it to build an international airport is a gross misapplication of resources,” the group said.

According to the statement, there are better and more people-oriented investment that will impact on the development of the state than building an airport that will serve only vested interest.

The group further maintained that putting the entire cost of building the airport into strengthening public education and public healthcare infrastructure will impact positively much more on the society and economy of Ebonyi State.

It is “a clout-chasing endeavour by the state governor, David Umahi, who clearly has other ulterior motives in initiating this project,” it read.

It also advised the Ebonyi State governor to concentrate attention on his administration in pursuing “people- oriented projects that will directly impact lives of the citizens of the state rather than embarking on this expensive and needless adventure.

“The proposal to sink gigantic amounts of money into building an international airport for Ebonyi State at a time when major strides in human development, poverty eradication and efficient healthcare delivery systems are sorely needed, demonstrates Governor Umahi’s total loss of touch with the reality of modern governance.

“The majority of the people are struggling to cope with basic human needs such as food to eat, water to drink, schools to attend and healthcare facilities to visit than diverting their limited resources to construct such a white-elephant project is the height of irresponsible governance,” the statement read.

Calling on the governor to have a rethink on the project and drop the idea forthwith, the group added that with Enugu International Airport less than an hour away from Abakaliki and similar facilities in Owerri, Calabar and Uyo within reasonable driving distances, the construction of an international airport in Ebonyi is clearly not a viable economic model.

“Building an international airport will lead to a forceful takeover of community lands currently being used by small-holder farmers in rural areas to help them cope with the debilitating hardships of our time. This will negatively impact on the rural economy and may lead to other unforeseen challenges in the proposed host communities of the airport,” the statement.

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