Imo Govt sets deadline for installation of airfield lighting at Owerri Airport
The Imo State Government has set an October date deadline for the installation of Airfield Lighting (AFL) at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri.
The government assured that equipment would be installed at the airport on or before the end of October 2023.
The Owerri Airport Manager, Mrs. Rejoice Ndudinachi revealed this today in Owerri during the fact-finding mission of the Avia-cargo Roadmap Committee set up by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The committee is to look at the challenges confronting cargo export in Nigeria and advise on how to improve the country’s performance in the exportation trade.
AFL is a priority to Imo Govt
According to Ndudinachi, the AFL installation was the priority project of the Imo State Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodinma.
With the installation of AFL, Owerri Airport would join Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt airports as some of the other aerodromes that operate sunset services.
Ndudinachi explained that the airport has the highest passenger traffic in the Southeast, while its cargo imports and exports were among the country’s highest.
She maintained that the airport was strategically located and close to both Ariaria and Aba Markets in the state, which made facilitation easier.
Apart from this, she pointed out that passengers from Edo, Anambra, Cross River and other neighbouring states pass through the airports.
She maintained that the airport could operate a cargo terminal successfully and lauded the governor for making it a duty to fix the AFL.
She further commended the avia-cargo committee for coming to do a tour of the facilities at the Cargo Airport.
Need for boost in cargo export
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Ikechi Uko, said that the committee was constituted by the management of FAAN to look critically into the air cargo business in the country and proffer solutions towards moving forward.
He regretted that the air cargo business in Nigeria was at its lowest ebb and that part of the committee’s job was to embark on a fact-finding mission and get firsthand information on developments in the sub-sector.
Ghana is taking over exports from Nigeria
According to Uko, 71 per cent of yam in Africa is produced by Nigeria, but exported to Ghana for further shipment to Europe.
He explained that 95 per cent of all yam exported from Africa are from Ghana, while the former Gold Coast country was only responsible for 11 per cent of total yam produced on the continent.
He also mentioned that Ghana imports eggs from Belgium, while Nigeria’s eggs are wasting away across the country.
He said that despite having close to 20 cargo airports in Nigeria, goods from the country are rotting away.
- He said: “Unofficially, there are close to 20 cargo airports in the country. Almost all the states in the South have airports and almost all the states in the North have airports, but we have not been able to use these airports to distribute cargo within the country.
- “The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) feels that there is a need to take advantage of what we already have. It is not something we need to go and bring but to distribute what we already have effectively and efficiently.
- “Without domestic cargo, we cannot do international cargo export. Unfortunately, we are very weak in international cargo. The committee’s job is to identify things we need to do and set guidelines to show where we are and where we want to be.”