By Jonathan Ugbal
The Margaret Ekpo International Airport in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital has been shut down following illegal activities around the premises.
The Guardian reports that the officials of the Federal airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), representatives of the Cross River State Government and the community in a communique issued after a stakeholders meeting last Friday declared that the airport is no longer safe for planes to land.
The Airport Manager, Ayodele Sunday said that FAAN was facing a lot of challenges in the management of the airport as no fewer than 130 lives will be sacrificed for intruders who have made the runway unsafe.
“The Margaret Ekpo International Airport is facing a lot of challenges. The airport runway is not safe for planes to land. The pilots have complained that intruders often walk through or play football on the runway when planes are landing. Also, school children walk across the runway to and from school, while residents farm on the area” Ayodele said.
However patrol teams have been armed to control the illegality Ayodele said and called on the farmers to harvest their crops or have them destroyed.
The Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Aviation, Amos Kajang, who facilitated the meeting admitted that there had not been regular surveillance around the airport land and called on FAAN to ensure this was done in order not to compromise the security of lives, properties as well as the safety of travelers.
“The movement around the runway shows that there is a gap which calls for the community’s involvement to curtail further intrusion,” Kajang said.
But, the Ndidem of the Quas, Patrick Oqua decried the Federal Government’s neglect of the airport, as well as the host community in terms of employment and urged the federal government to erect a parameter fence around the airport to prevent intruders from gaining access into the place.
He disclosed that the airport had become an escape route for armed robbers, adding that FAAN officials gave those farming on the land the permission after paying some money.
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