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With the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport under repairs and the Kaduna airport bearing the resulting increased traffic, one would expect other airports in the country to bear the rest of the traffic.
However, the Calabar airport has been unfortunately declared unsafe for landing by the Federal Airport Authourity of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Cross River state government.
The decision to declare the airport unsafe was taken after a meeting between stakeholders, community leaders and the Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Aviation, Mr Amos Kajang, Airport Manager, Mr Ayodele Sunday.
Mr Ayodele Sunday said:
“The Margaret Ekpo International Airport is facing a lot of challenges. The airport runway is not safe for planes to land. The pilots have complained that intruders often walk through or play football on the runway when planes are landing. Also, school children walk across the runway to and from school, while residents farm on the area.”
The manager also added that FAAN was facing a lot of challenges in the management of the airport and warned that the lives of over 130 passengers in an aircraft could not be sacrificed for the intruders.
He disclosed that the patrol teams had been armed to control the illegality in the area and urged those who planted crops around the runway to harvest them or be destroyed.
The governor’s assistant said: “The movement around the runway shows that there is a gap which calls for the community’s involvement to curtail further intrusion.”
Kajang admitted that there had not been regular surveillance around the airport and urged the FAAN to ensure that it was done in order not to compromise the security of lives.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has intercepted bags containing N49 million cash at Kaduna airport.
The anti-graft agency made the interception on Tuesday, March 14 at the airport. It will be recalled that the Kaduna Airport became the diversion point for flights scheduled for Abuja Airport due to the repair work going on planned for six weeks.
Although the owner of the cash has not been named, there is suspicion that it is related to illegal activities considering the EFCC was involved and was on hand to intercept it perhaps based on intelligence report.
Watch a video below of the Abuja airport: