FOLLOWING the destruction of the concrete perimeter fence, covering about 2km, being erected at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, as part of the ongoing rehabilitation of the airport by one Arch. John J. Emejulu the federal government has vowed to prosecute the perpetrator.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made this known on Thursday while speaking to newsmen after inspecting the site to ascertain the level of destruction.
Sirika was unhappy that the perpetrator could take such an unlawful act by destroying a “national security asset”, at a time the federal government was in the course of delivering the Enugu airport, on August 30, as promised.
Sirika when narrating events that led to what transpired said that “while the procurement (of the Enugu airport rehabilitation) was going on, a certain cantankerous individual by name Arch. J.J. Emejulu came with bulldozers and hundreds of armed thugs and destroyed more than 2km of our fence”.
The Minister, who described the action as unfortunate, unbecoming and unacceptable, said that “he (Emejulu) has given the government the opportunity to show how not to willfully destroyed public asset belonging to over 200 million people”.
While reiterating the commitment of the federal government to the reopening of the Enugu airport on August 30, as earlier promised, Sirika, expressed dismay that in spite of the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, to bring the airport back to its glory, with the nation’s limited resources and “at this very austere time”, to contribute to trade and commerce as well as guarantee safety of air travelers, “a certain cantankerous individual appeared from nowhere with bulldozers and destroyed this national security asset”.
“It is a wrong time to test our resolve. The individual will certainly be dealt with maximally without recourse. I am sure he will regret doing this and of course this is also an opportunity for government to show that no one can take the law into his hands and willfully destroy national asset belonging to 200 million of all of us.
“This will certainly be the end of this kind of recklessness. We will not forgive him. The Chief of Air Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General, DSS, others, will be directed to do the needful and bring him to book, so that anybody who would contemplate doing something like this in future will have a rethink.
“We are government in place; we are not a lawless country; we are not in a banana republic, we are in the Federal Republic of Nigeria governed by laws. Certainly, this is not acceptable and I am sure that we are equal to the task of rising in defence of our national asset”, the Minister maintained.
At the inspection tour were the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command, NAF, Enugu, Air Vice Marshal Idi Amin, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Hamisu Rabiu Yadudu, the Enugu Airport Manager, Mrs. Cecilia Oguama among others.
Recall, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that an Enugu State High Court had in 2017 given a judgement in favour of Mr. Emejulu pertaining to the expanse of land in Phase IV and V of Airport Road Layout.
Mr Emejulu in Suit no. E/ 165M/2020 returned to the court through an application by Motion on Notice for the court to compel the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State and the Inspector-General of Police to execute the court’s judgment.
On June 3, 2020, Justice J. L. C. Okibe granted an order of mandamus compelling the police to enforce the judgement and prosecute anyone who hinders its judgment.
Mr Emejulu in the early hours of Wednesday visited the affected site with equipment to take possession of the land and pulled down illegal structures including those erected for the operation of the air.