Edo community has rejected State Governor, Godwin Obaseki’s decision on a proposed airport project.
According to the community’s spokesman, Chief Richard David who spoke at a press conference on Sunday, BUA and Dangote cement companies have already decided to build an aerodrome in the area. He urged the state government to support the proposal instead of getting approval for another airport in Etsako West.
David noted that BUA and Dangote were planning to build the aerodrome in Okpella because of their huge investments in the area, which has propelled development in the community
The community also expressed surprise that a letter from the Federal Ministry of Aviation dated December 16, 2021, with reference number FMA/ADD/402/5.42/C.9/12 conveying approval for an airport project, wrongly mentioned Okpella as being part of the Etsako West Local Government Area.
David said, “It was a thing of joy to the people when the BUA Group hinted that it had started the process of setting up an aerodrome in Okpella for which appropriate modalities of location of suitable site, soil tests and payment of compensation to crop owners had been completed.
“We had expected the government to back this process instead of initiating a fresh move for another airport and erroneously mentioning Okpella as the site.
“We had also expected that the government would commit resources to set up auxiliary infrastructure like access roads to and from the aerodrome, supply of water, improved power supply and others.
“To our surprise, a letter from the Federal Ministry of Aviation dated December 16, 2021 with reference number FMA/ADD/402/5.42/C.9/12 conveying approval for an airport project, wrongly mentioned Okpella as being part of the Etsako West Local Government Area.
“We had expected something to be done to correct this, but nothing was done. This action of the FMA, the silence of the Etsako East Council and the body language of the state government has angered our youths and the generality of the community.
“We are sure that the same investors trying to build the airstrip will be used to source funds for this proposed airport by the state government.”
“But we demand that the investors be allowed to continue with the ongoing project in Okpella.
“We have been appealing to and pacifying our youths, who have been visibly restive and suspicious of government action on this project.
“But if the project is stopped and taken to another place, we cannot guarantee the peaceful coexistence between the investors and the community, unless Okpella ceases to be their host community.”