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RE:Multi-million dollar Ibom Airport equipment stolen

Source: Dr. Oscar J. Udoh
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The attention of Ministry of Special Duties whose ministerial responsibility covers the supervision of Ibom International Airport , has been drawn to a recent frivolous publication on some online news fora titled: “Multi-million dollar Ibom Airport equipment stolen…” as published by one Michael U. Ekpo on some social media channels, notably [email protected] Ordinarily, the Ministry of Special Duties acting in conjunction with Ibom Airport Development Company Limited, (IADC), managers of the Ibom airport, would have disregarded this misleading fable story, as the writer has overtime been identified as a frustrated indigene of the state whose previous alleged atrocities have haunted him into exile in Accra-Ghana. It is believed that either Mr Ekpo (a name that literarily means ghost) is being paid by some enemies of the developmental strides of His Excellency Governor Godswill Akpabio (CON), or has simply resorted to being mischievous for unknown reasons. Whatever is his raison d'être, we agree with Mark Twain that “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And that is why we have resolved to put the matter in proper perspectives, especially for the sake of potential international investors and domestic air travelers to and out of Akwa Ibom International Airport, Uyo.

As part of the efforts of the Akwa Ibom State Government to ensure the safety of passengers and aircrafts using the Akwa Ibom International Airport, a Cordless Land Air Wildlife System (CLAWS) was installed at the Akwa Ibom International Airport in furtherance of His Excellency's vision of making Akwa Ibom State through her airport a destination of choice in Nigeria and aviation hub within the West African sub-region.

The Cordless Land Air Wildlife System (CLAWS) is a system that prevents bird strike and wild-life encroachment on or around the airport by scaring away birds and other wildlife within the surrounding radius of the runway of the airport.

The 13-unit equipment, CLAWS, the first complete set ever commissioned in any airport in Africa has been installed in Ibom International Airport, Uyo and is currently operational at the airport.

The system, remotely controlled produces Sound-scare during take off and landing of aircrafts on the runway; and by so doing scares away birds and other wild animals from the airport runway to ensure smooth take-off and landing operations by aircrafts using the airport facilities.

The Issue:
There was an industrial action about two weeks ago involving some category of staff at the airport. After the demonstration, it was discovered that some of the Cordless Land Air Wildlife System of the airport had been vandalized. Some people were arrested by the police and promptly interrogated. Since the security agents are still investigating the matter, it rather smacks prejudice to preempt the outcome of the investigation.

The Akwa Ibom airport is well fortified with a crème of well trained police men, aviation security, and other forms of security personnel working day and night and those suspected to be involved in the vandalisation of the equipment will be dealt with, decisively. It is needless to stress that the airport is a very sensitive place and its security is not one that can treated with levity and is handled by highly experienced Federal security agents.

Let us particularly stress that despite the minor vandalism recorded, no security threatening device has been affected and the airport whose equipment have been attested as world class, is still booming with commercial and private flight services. Only last week, international fight services were recorded, with the successful airlift of yet another batch of pilgrims to the holyland in Isreal.

We wish to advise members of the public to completely disregard the spiteful story as published by Michael U. Ekpo on some social media channels. This publication by the said Ekpo, is clearly an attempt to undermine the giant achievements of the state government and the airport management team which has set the pace in the aviation industry and repositioned the state in the global tourism map. This is undoubtedly one publication that has been done in bad faith.

The principal government officials mentioned in the libelous publication by Michael Ekpo, attest to the malevolent intent of the writer, to bring disrepute to the image of the Akwa Ibom state government. Nothing could be farther from truth.

Finally, let it be known that the government of Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio is totally committed towards ensuring the safety of passengers and aircrafts doing business at the Akwa Ibom State airport and had since installed and calibrated the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) and other Standard landing equipment in line with the standards of International Civil Aviation Organization, which the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigerian (FAAN) is a signatory.

Currently, the second phase of the airport development is in progress with its focus on considering and selection of an operator for the MRO together with securing all the technical approvals. This phase also includes the on-going building of the main terminal building and the taxi way in addition to extending the interim terminal building apron. Also a brand new VIP hanger is being developed besides the main MRO. In addition, the MRO apron will also be extended to accommodate cargo operations. Contracts for all these have already been awarded by the state Government and works have since commenced.

From the foregoing, it is clear that AKIA has been strategically positioned for seamless international aviation services.

Air passenger travelers and the general public are hereby advised to continue in their normal activities, as the management of the airport is committed to ensuring that Akwa Ibom International airport remains the safest in the country, in line with the vision of Governor Akpabio to transform the state into a major player in Nigeria's aviation industry, and an economic hub in the Gulf of Guinea.

Dr. Oscar J. Udoh is the Media Relations Officer to the Ministry of Special Duties

Essien Ndueso
e-mail:[email protected]

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dr. Oscar J. Udoh and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."