FORMER Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi commissioned a yet-to-be-completed Agro-Allied International Airport initiated during his administration, The ICIR can confirm.
Cited almost close to the Afe Babalola University in the state capital, the multi-billion naira cargo airport was awarded to the CCECC Nigeria Limited by Fayemi in 2019.
Speaking to a large crowd of admirers at the airport commissioning ceremony on Saturday, the former governor expressed satisfaction that the project eventually saw the light of the day ten years after its conception during his first administration in 2012.
He said that the airport would unlock the vast potential inherent in the state, noting that it would attract investors, provide easy transportation of agricultural products and job opportunities and open the state for rapid development.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, also at the ceremony, described the airport as “an extremely very important project” which would, in turn, facilitate the import and export of goods and commodities.”
He also said that the airport would connect people to the ultramodern Afe Babalola Teaching Hospital, reducing foreign medical tourism in the county.
“I was at ABUAD. I saw the university, the farm, the industrial park, and the hospital,” he said.
“Airports are by no means the best catalysts for economic growth of any state or nation.
Sirika said, “35 per cent of global trade by value is moved through airports and 18.6 dollar billion of cargo is moved daily through air transportation. The wealthy among you should take to agriculture, for example and begin to produce things that you will be exported to other parts of the world.
“You can be land-locked, but you cannot be sky-locked. We can all see the importance of having a facility like this.”
However, when The ICIR visited the airport site on Wednesday, it was discovered that the passenger terminal building had not been completed.
Although the front of the facility showed completed, the side and the back of the building have not been covered by bricks.
Also, the building interior, which includes offices, a passenger lounge, and some parts of the floor, have not been plastered.
The ICIR also observed that the proposed building for the cargo terminal was still at the foundation level. It has not been completed.
Another thing conspicuously missing from the site of the airport is the Air Traffic Control (ATC) towel. The ATC is used to facilitate the safe and expeditious flow of air traffic and landing.
This reporter, however, discovered that runway and adjoining roads linking the airport to the expressway to the state capital had been completed except for the drainages.
Site engineers, labourers, and earth-moving machines were cited on the site.
One of the engineers interviewed by this reporter said it could still take several weeks of continuous work before the airport will be ready for public use.
In 2014, Fayemi was accused by his predecessor, former governor Ayo Fayose, of inviting dignitaries, including former vice president Atiku Abubakar to commission uncompleted projects, such projects included Oba Adjugbe Hospital in Ado Ekiti, the state pavilion, and Ado-Ifaki road.