Airport project: Okpella, Edo’s government ready for war

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The community of Okpella in the Edo-East Local Government Area of ​​Edo is spoiling the war with the state government over the proposed airport project in the North Edo Senate District of the state.

At a press conference on Sunday by the Okpella community, an alleged marginalization by the government, noting that the airport project outside Okpella is doing them a disservice

Community spokesperson Richard David said the BUA and Dangote had already planned to build an airfield in Okpella due to their investments in the area.

David stressed that they believe the same investors who initiated the Okpella airstrip are now the ones who would be used to raise funds for the government’s proposed airport.

He said that if this were the case, the peaceful coexistence between investors and the community would no longer be guaranteed.

He said that despite Okpella’s immense contribution to Edo’s economic livelihood, the community remains the most neglected in government infrastructure considerations.

“It was a joy for the people when the BUA group hinted that they had started the process of setting up an aerodrome in Okpella for which the appropriate arrangements for locating a suitable site, for soil analyzes and compensation payments to crop owners had been completed.

“We expected and hoped that what is expected of the government is to provide the necessary support and encouragement to this laudable initiative to facilitate its timely completion.

He said: “We also expected the government to commit resources to put in place ancillary infrastructure like an access road to and from the airfield, water supply, improved power supply and others.

“To our surprise, a letter from the Federal Aviation Ministry dated 12/16/2021 with the reference number FMA / ADD / 402 / 5.42 / C.9 / 12 approving an airport project, mistakenly mentioned Okpella as part of Etsako. Western local government area.

“Our request is that of the same investors who initiated the steps to build an airstrip are the same groups who will ultimately be forced to raise funds for the project. They should be allowed to continue the ongoing project in Okpella without hindrance or constraint.

“But otherwise, we cannot guarantee peaceful coexistence between investors and the community unless Okpella ceases to be their host community. We demand that nothing negative or untoward be done by the government to disrupt or distort the industrial harmony and peace that currently prevails in our community, ”he said.


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