Edo community threatens showdown with govt, investors over airport project

Edo community threatens showdown with govt, investors over airport project

Edo community threatens showdown with govt, investors over airport project

 

The Okpella community in the Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State is spoiling for war with the state government over the planned relocation of the proposed airport from the area.

 

The community’s spokesman, Chief Richard David, at a press conference on Sunday, stated that there was already a plan by BUA and Dangote cement companies to build an aerodrome in the area and called on the state government to support this instead of getting approval for another airport in Etsako West.

 

David stated 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.

 

The Okpella community in the Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State is spoiling for war with the state government over the planned relocation of the proposed airport from the area.

 

The community’s spokesman, Chief Richard David, at a press conference on Sunday, stated that there was already a plan by BUA and Dangote cement companies to build an aerodrome in the area and called on the state government to support this instead of getting approval for another airport in Etsako West.

 

David stated 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.

 

“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.”