Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano has said only 20 persons have been recruited to work at the Anambra International Passenger and Cargo Airport, Umueri.
Earlier this month, the Anambra State House of Assembly had erupted in anger over the illegal recruitment of over 400 persons to work at the airport.
While expressing worry that such recruitment exercise was done without the knowledge of the state legislature, the lawmakers said they were more groused with the finding that most of the supposed employees were from Aguleri, the Governor’s country home, accusing the governor of nepotistic tendencies.
They had maintained that such recruitment will not stand and directed the state government officials responsible to report to the House to answer questions on the supposed recruitment.
But Obiano after landing at the ongoing airport project on Wednesday enroute from Lagos, said the state is ready with the 20 persons that will work at the airport at the initial stage, although he did not state how they were recruited.
He however explained that the control tower workers at this initial stage will be operatives of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA until the state is capable.
“The people that will work at the airport at this initial stage, about 20 of them, the state has gotten them ready. The control workers and other staff at this initial stage, will be operatives of the NCAA until the state is capable,” he said.
The governor said his government is committed to delivering the airport on schedule, saying it is almost completed.
“The airport is almost ready. We had targeted to open it to public use next month. Only thing delaying the airport are the three fire trucks coming from Germany. The state does not want to miss the Category 4F given her by the NCAA and that’s why we insisted on the three fire trucks from Germany. It is also instructive to know that my administration completed those airport within 14 months without borrowing a dime,” he boasted.
Obiano revealed that the airport will not be run by Anambra State government but by a foreign company.
According to him, this is because his government is concerned about proper maintenance of the airport to ensure it lasts for a very long time.
In his words; “A major challenge with the government in Nigeria is poor maintenance culture and we want to avoid that mistake with this airport. Since I assumed office, I had adopted the use of facility managers for our property and this has reflected in the better ways our facilities have been managed.”
The Anambra Helmsman disclosed that a direct electricity channel is coming from the Agu-Awka power to the Airport in two week-time- a project being undertaken by the contractor for Niger Delta Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
He expressed the hope that when the airport fully comes on stream, it will boost economic activities in the state and the entire Southeast, while easing stress for people of the state, who he noted, travel a lot.