Anambra: Don’t bother me about Anambra airport project, Obiano’s commissioner lashes journalist

Barely seven months of boasting that the Anambra state International Cargo Airport project would be completed in less than 18 months, there is indication that work has not started at the site after the state commissioner for Works, Mr Marcel Ifejiofor, told journalists they won’t access it.
A team of investigative journalists including Blueprint reporter had gone to find out the pace of work at the site since Governor Willie Obiano, on November 27, 2019 during the Anambra Business and Investment Roundtable held at Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, said the project would be completed before 18 months.
Obiano equally claimed that work has resumed on the site with clearing done at about a kilometer out of 3.6 kilometer runway.

“Oga, sorry, we don’t entertain journalists here any longer. You can’t be allowed to see its pace. You can call the works commissioner to confirm it,” two ununiformed men stationed at the entrance to the site stated, adding that the commissioner was on site with the contracting firm.
But a look from afar showed that there was no work on the site except a visible sign of a newly cleared road by bulldozer, first of its kind since 2017 the work was flagged off.

When the commissioner for works, Mr Ifejiofor was contacted on the phone, he queried, “Why are you here? Who told you to come here? We don’t allow people to come here, you can’t come, but you can come to my office on the following Wednesday by 10am,” he said.
On Wednesday, the commissioner fumed again,“I don’t know what you want to be told about the project. Go and quote me, just say work has not started. I am not ready to talk further on the project, so you can say that I said no comment. If you have other things to know about the state of roads in Anambra, I will be ready to speak to you, but I am not willing to talk about the airport.
“Any time I want to make a comment I will tell you. If the project had started our Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) would have carried the report. Is it because I allowed you into my office? How many commissioners in the state can allow you into their offices the way I allowed you people not to talk of other eastern states. I don’t have any comments on the project,” he said.

Obiano had at a budget presentation at Anambra State House of Assembly on September 26, 2019 announced that the government has earmarked N6 billion naira for the construction of the Anambra State International Cargo Airport at Umueri, Anambra East local government area in fulfilment of his promise at 2017 governorship campaign.
The governor in 2017 inaugurated the airport project which, according to him, included a mall, industrial, business park, airport hotel and others, claiming that it would boost economic development and increase the income base of the state.

The project, estimated to cost over $2 billion and would be developed through a partnership between the Anambra State Government, Orient Petroleum Resources and Elite International Investments. Elite International Investments was specifically said to provide all funds under a build, operate, manage and transfer agreement. 
Earlier in 2017, Obiano said it was a Chinese company, Sinoking International that would build it at no cost to the state through a Build-Operate-Manage and Transfer (BOMT) basis.

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