FAAN, Cross River government declare Calabar airport unsafe for planes
Following alleged illegal activities around the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, the Federal Airport Authourity of Nigeria (FAAN) and Cross River State government have declared that the airport is no longer safe for planes to land.
FAAN officials, state government representatives and community leaders in the state disclosed this in a communiqué after a stakeholders meeting last Friday.The Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Aviation, Mr. Amos Kajang, facilitated the meeting.
According to the Airport Manager, Mr. Ayodele Sunday: “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.”
The manager added that FAAN was facing a lot of challenges in the management of the airport and warned that the lives of over 130 passengers in an aircraft could not be sacrificed for the intruders.
He disclosed that the patrol teams had been armed to control the illegality in the area and urged those who planted crops around the runway to harvest them or be destroyed. The governor’s assistant said: “The movement around the runway shows that there is a gap which calls for the community’s involvement to curtail further intrusion.
Kajang admitted that there had not been regular surveillance around the airport and urged the FAAN to ensure that it was done in order not to compromise the security of lives.
But the paramount ruler and Nididem of the Quas, Patrick Oqua decried the Federal Government’s neglect of the airport, as well as the host community in terms of employment.
He urged 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.