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Makinde hints at upgrade, takeover of Ibadan airport

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Makinde speaks on takeover of Ibadan airport



Governor Seyi Makinde has announced Oyo State’s interest in the upgrade and take over of the Ibadan airport from the Federal Government when it is ready for hand over.

Speaking while hosting the joint National Assembly committee on aviation, led to his office by the chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, said making Ibadan a regional airport will benefit the state and the national economy, Makinde noted that the airport upgrade can be fast-tracked through a public, private partnership arrangement.

Tribune reports that Makinde aims to upgrade the airport to an international standard which would serve as an alternate to the Muritala Muhammad Airport in Lagos, and subsequently mark an end to the diversion of international flights to Accra, Ghana, to serve Nigeria better.

The statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, read, “You can see the calibre of people here today. This tells us how important the issue of Ibadan airport is to us. The airport, ideally, should be the alternate airport to Lagos. So, we think if Ibadan is fixed properly, it will take away all those headaches of having to go to Ghana.

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“As a government in Oyo State, we have been trying our best to do our own bit and, as a matter of fact, we have already started the process of upgrading the Ibadan airport. We have commissioned a study to look at the airport; to look at those things we should upgrade.

“We know for a fact that the runway right now is 2400m/ 45metres and they said if we want to make it standard, it should go to 3.3km/60 metres. Even the parking area is about 25,200 square metres and we should actually push that to 76,500 to be able to accommodate widebody aircraft. So, we are looking at the instrument landing system and the airport lighting system.

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“We are in anticipation of this upgrade and we know it will happen. I have actually visited the vice president and the minister of aviation. The distinguished senator said that some other governors who have spent their money building airports are coming to see how they can hand it over, but it is the reverse for us.

“We are thinking of how to take over the airport because the model is not to use the state’s funds per se, but to do a public-private partnership, where the state will join up with experts in the field and people with investable money, and we will take over that airport; do all the expansion and see if we can turn it into an international airport. Even if we don’t focus on other places around the world, we can focus on the region.

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“If we have regional flight, we will probably see a lot of people fly into Ibadan from West Africa mostly. So, we have been doing our own bit.

“We just signed an MoU with KOPEC to fix the road from Iwo Road junction all the way to Alakia. It is a federal road and has been awarded by the Federal Government but not funded at this point. And we said we will provide the fund because it is our people that ply the road. So, we will fund it and any day the Federal Government decides to refund, we will get it back,” he said.

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