By Jonathan Ugbal
Earthwork at the site for the construction of the Obudu international cargo and passenger airport may be at the preliminary stages, but the five companies working at the site have a prize to compete for.
Chinese company, SUMEC; AG Vision, Azul Engineering, the Cross River Agriculture Development Project (CRADP) and the main contractors, CIBA engineering are currently working on the airport with the one to finish fastest in the earthwork stage, receiving NGN10 million as a prize.
The prize was an initiative of Cross River State Governor, Benedict Ayade to spur on the companies.
All four companies and CRADP which is a government owned initiative are currently excavating hills and knolls to fill watersheds and waterways that run the entire course of the runway, or as it is called in popular engineering lingo, “cutting and filling.”
This reporter was informed that the actual runway will be 3.5 kilometers while the remaining 1.7 kilometers from either end will be grassland for emergency landings in line with reports from aviation authorities, especially the Accident Investigation Bureau of the United States.
From the Abonkib-Atiekpe end wherein aircrafts are supposed to touchdown, to the point where Azul Engineering which is supervised by a State official, is the 3.5 kilometers runway.
But, all is not well as the contractors have not been paid for over 3 months with some already threatening to pull out.
However, sources in Government House Calabar, say a trade by barter arrangement was reached by one contractor.
As at press time, this Newspaper could not confirm the name of the contractor and whether others did same.
A diesel dump was also constructed recently at the Atiekpe – Ikwomikwu end with dozens of owners yet to receive compensation.
Meanwhile, it will be recalled that the Governor, whose residence is less than 2 kilometers away from the airport site has said that if he fails to complete the airport project, he should be chased away, using some leaves believed to have diabolical powers, away from Obudu.
Watch how the runway and terminal building look so far on CrossRiverWatch TV…
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