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Jubilation as Obiano Flags off Work on Umueri Airport Road

By James Eze
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There was joy on the faces of the rural folks as the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano finally took the first major step in fulfilling his promise of building a cargo airport in Anambra State by flagging off the four-lane road that will lead to the proposed airport in Umeri, in Anambra East Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Obiano who stormed the venue for the flag off along Aguleri-Otuocha-Umueri Expressway with the members of his cabinet and APGA chieftains on Monday declared that in flagging off construction work on the proposed road, his administration was symbolically opening up the entire area for accelerated development.

The governor expressed optimism that when all the roads that are under construction in Anambra East and West are fully completed, there would be greater access to the agrarian treasures of the state and more opportunities would be opened therefrom. According to him, no fewer than 300 people are expected to be employed during the construction of the Umueri Airport Road alone.

The governor also used to opportunity to announce that Anambra State government had signed on a South African gas exploration company known as Lubcon to work on its newly approved ANWell 1, the state's first gas well that has been proven to host a large deposit of gas. According to him, the South African firm will be “producing 100 megawatts of electricity from the gas that will be mined from that well. With this volume of electricity, the power supply needs of this zone and beyond will be met. This will also attract investors from other places who may want to set up their operations here and take advantage of the steady power supply,” he explained.

The governor also explained that his administration was expediting action on all uncompleted roads in the zone to ensure an effective linkup between the various communities. “When our work is fully done, there will be a lot of progress and prosperity, a lot of activities that will generate income and a lot of jobs for our people. So, when we finish, this part of the state and Anambra State as a whole will witness a significant economic improvement,” he enthused pointing out that his administration had outlined several programmes that would help stimulate domestic growth in the state.

Said he: “We have commenced special training in oil and gas and in Agriculture in Federal Polytechnic Oko and Anambra State University Igbariam respectively, to prepare our people to take full advantage of the expected employment opportunities in the emerging industries. We have commenced these trainings because when these investors come, they will need trained hands to work with them. Because an industry is located in a particular place does not mean that every indigene would be automatically qualified to work in it.”

According to him, the state government is “anticipating the demand for properly trained indigenes that will take over the industries in the future. So, register through your local governments so that you will make yourself employable in the future. These trainings are offered free of charge to willing participants. We are encouraging our sons and daughters to read petroleum engineering because ultimately, they will be the ones to take over these investments when the expatriates are gone.”

The governor also used the opportunity to debunk the malicious rumour in the social media which claimed that he planned to rename the proposed airport after his home town of Aguleri. “Don't listen to detractors who are going around insinuating that an airport in Umueri will be named after Aguleri. It is a lie. That sort of thing can never happen. It cannot even be contemplated at all. These people just want to cause trouble for the fun of it. Please ignore them,” he pleaded.

Earlier, governor Obiano had inspected the 40 Km Aguleri-Uno – Oil Rig road project and expressed satisfaction with the pace and quality of work done so far hoping that construction work on the road would reach advanced stage before the onset of the rainy season.

He further noted that the road which cuts across seven agrarian communities was designed and being constructed to take heavy duty vehicles involved in oil and gas business while it would also open up food producing areas for effective harnessing of the abundant resources in the area.

In his own remarks, the Commissioner for Works, Sir Callistus Ilozumba disclosed that two more dualized roads from Umunya and Nteje respectively would equally lead to the airport while the State government had made several representations to the Federal Government for the dualization of the Onitsha – Aguleri – Adani road with an interchange at the junction of the new road.

Sir Ilozumba also disclosed that the State had secured approval for the airport project and acquired enough land for its construction while the contract for the major road to the facility was awarded to a competent contractor.