Despite Progress, Cross River To Miss Deadline Again For Airport Completion

In Breaking News, Reports
The runway of the Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport showing part of the turnpad and what may be a displaced threshold upon completion.

By Jonathan Ugbal

The Obudu international passenger and cargo airport will not be completed by May 5, 2024, as promised earlier by Governor Bassey Edet Otu’s administration, CrossRiverWatch can authoritatively report.

This is despite the progress of work at the project site, which has gulped billions of Naira since construction began in 2019.

This will be the third deadline missed by the current administration on the project and follows a similar trend by the Senator Ben Ayade-led administration.

The Deadlines

On Monday, July 17, 2023, 49 days after he resumed office, Governor Otu visited the site and said, “I am very impressed at the quality and the level of work done here. I think the airport is actually ready to go. As we can see, everything is on the ground. It is just the tarmac, which is at its completion stage.

“The contractors who have been working with regulatory officials from the aviation agencies have assured me that if the necessary support is provided, this place will be running within six months.”

But, by January 17, 2024, work was far from what it is now.

Nearly two months later, on September 8th, 2023, during a media parley with journalists, the Governor disclosed that the sum of NGN3.7 billion has been earmarked for the completion of the project and said it will be completed within six months. This pushed the delivery period to March 8, 2024.

Again, two more months later, on November 7, 2023, the Commissioner for Aviation, Rtd Captain Enoh Utum Inah was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria, saying; “The contractor has given his word that the cargo airport project will be completed in the next 120 days. As a responsible government, I put it at 180 to ensure that everything is done before commissioning.”

180 days from that date is May 5, 2024 – about one week away.

Work Progress

A recent visit by this reporter shows that asphalting is almost complete on the portion of the runway from the turn pad to the exit into the apron, totaling about 1.6 kilometers. The remaining part, an estimated 2 kilometers, which will include the displaced thresholds, touchdown zone, aiming point, clearway, and where the approach lighting will be installed is yet to be completed as earthwork is ongoing.

The runway of the Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport showing part of the turnpad and what may be a displaced threshold upon completion.
The runway of the Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport, showing part of the turn pad and what may be a displaced threshold upon completion.

As of press time, it remained unclear from the construction work if a slipway will be constructed at either end of the runway.

The Airport will feature a single runway which will also serve as a taxiway. The turn pad is located at the extreme near Igwo community to allow aircraft to perform a 180-degree turn either after landing or for the take-off run. The apron is where the aircraft is parked for pre- and post-flight activities such as visual inspections, loading, unloading, and fuelling.

The construction of the apron is yet to be completed and linked with the runway, as well as the passenger terminal building. Two towers erected so far are nearing completion. CrossRiverWatch understands one will be for the Approach controllers while the other for ground controllers working with the cargo segment.

The apron is yet to be linked to the single runway which also serves as taxiway
The apron is yet to be linked to the single runway, which also serves as taxiway.

One terminal building is complete, while work is expected to commence on the Cargo handling terminal in a few weeks when two more contractors join the site.

Contractors

Currently, only CIBA Construction Limited, a private company limited by shares and incorporated in Mushin, Lagos with Registration Number 1166426, registered on January 24, 2014, still working on site.

CIBA Construction limited is the only contractor on site with reports of two more joining them later on
CIBA Construction limited is the only contractor on site with reports of two more joining them later on

The published address is 387 The Biostadt Place, Agege Motor Road Beside Coca-Cola, Cappa Bus stop, Mushin, Lagos with Jide Bunmi Nathan and Harrison Emmanuel listed as Directors while Daniel Balogun Dada is listed as Secretary.

Recall that CrossRiverWatch had reported that five companies were involved as of 2021 and were jostling for the NGN10 million prize dangled by former Governor Ben Ayade. The prize was for the company that finished the earthwork section assigned to it.

READ ALSO: OBUDU AIRPORT: Earthwork For Runway, Terminal Building Progress As Five Companies Struggle N10 Mln Prize

Out of the five contractors, only CIBA remains, and it lifts beach sand from Bebi in Obalinku to fill certain areas while a perimeter fence is under construction. 

Also, several streams have either been covered up totally or there are plans for diversion.

Several streams, and watersheds have eithere being destroyed, covered, or will be diverted. The culvert under construction is to divert an existing stream and is close to where the touchdown zone will be.
Several streams, and watersheds have either being destroyed, covered, or will be diverted. The culvert under construction is to divert an existing stream and is close to where the touchdown zone will be.

See more pictures from the site below…

 

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