The Nasarawa State Government says its multi-billion Naira cargo airport under construction near Lafia, the state capital, will be delivered before the end of the year.
The Deputy Governor of the state, Dr Emmanuel Akabe disclosed this to newsmen when he conducted the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on tour of the airport.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the minister was at the airport site on the sidelines of his two-day visit to Nasarawa to inspect Farin Ruwa Waterfalls to showcase its tourism and investment potential.
Addressing newsmen on the entourage of the minister, the deputy governor said former Governor, Tanko Almakura started the airport while the current administration took it up as a priority project.
“This airport is one of the priority projects that we believe we should complete, even though building an airport is quite expensive and costing us a lot of money.
“Hopefully, in the next few months we will have a control cabin brought in and installed and when that is done we will have other aeronautical devices in place.
“The runway is 2,2km but our plan is to extend it to 2.5km so that we can have all kinds of cargo planes land here.
“On May 29, 2019, the first flight landed here and since then other planes had landed.
“We believe that before the end of the year, we will open the airport fully for operations,’’ he said.
The deputy governor said the airport was conceived to boost the economy of the state and serve as an alternative to the airport at the Federal Capital Territory.
Corroborating Akabe, the Commissioner for Works, Phillip Dada, said the airport was conceived to be cargo because of the predominant agricultural nature of the economy of the state, as well as its solid minerals endowment.
“The thinking is that a cargo airport should be built to enable farmers, investors and businessmen evacuate their produce, materials and products to markets outside the state.
“We also have the plan to make the airport available for other schedules particularly domestic flights, while we are hoping that by God’s grace it will be upgraded in due course for even international flights,’’ he said.
The commissioner, who said the project started five years ago, also reassured that it would be completed by the end of the year.
The minister congratulated the state government on the airport, noting that investing in such a project was a wise decision and critical to the economic development of the state.
Mohammed said the airport would also help to step up the tourism development of the state and open it up globally.
In the entourage of the minister were the Directors-General of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, NIHOTOUR, Nuhu Kangiwa and that of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, Folorunsho Coker.
Special Advisers to the President attached to the minister, Messrs Segun Adeyemi and Williams Adeleye, also accompanied the minister on the visit.