. NCAA: Why We Can’t Certify Airport
. Govt House: Issues Have Been Resolved
By Hamilton Nwosa (Head, The New Diplomat’s Business and Poll Tracking Desk)
With just about twenty-two days to Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa’s exit form Office, concerns have escalated over the likely fate of the uncertified N100bn Bayelsa International Cargo Airport located in Amassoma, Bayelsa State. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says lack of proper perimeter fencing of the International Cargo Airport, a development that raises safety and security concerns, has made it impossible for NCAA to certify the airport as good enough for operational use.
More worrisome was the dramatic decision of the Amassoma community to block the access road leading to the Airport in protest against the State government’s alleged refusal to fully remit the sum approved for compensation to the host community thereby preventing NCAA’s visiting team from gaining access to the airport two days ago. The New Diplomat gathered that protesting youths blocked the only access road to Airport in protest against the State government’s reported refusal to fully pay the community its compensation sums. Amassoma is the home town of late Chief Deprieye Alamieyeseigha, former governor of Bayelsa State. A community leader told The New Diplomat that the decision to embark on that action stems from the concern among the community as to “what would happen with the pending sums left unpaid as compensation when Governor Dickson leaves Office early next month.”
Abdullahi Sidi, director-general of NCAA, said perimeter fencing and other vital components are necessary requirements which the State government should accomplish before certification could be carried out successfully. But sources at Government House Bayelsa who would prefer anonymity confided in The New Diplomat that the contending issues around the Airport have been addressed by Governor Dickson. “ These issues have been resolved. As we speak some are being addressed right now because even the Amassoma Community came to Government House and they apologized for their actions. The government gave them an airport, they should be grateful. Compensation cannot be paid fully at once. I am certain that before Febraury 14, the Airport would be commissioned”, the source said.
The Bayelsa State Government which built the airport at staggering cost of about N100 billion calling it Bayelsa International Airport, has been a subject of criticism for allegedly over-inflating the actual cost of the project which was initially put at N40bn. In February, last year the airport had its inaugural flight by the state governor, Governor Dickson, from Abuja, and was later followed by an Air Peace flight from Lagos. Going by the handover date of February 14, Dickson’s administration is scheduled to handover to Governor-elect Chief David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC).