By NWOGHA NDUBUISI ANDY, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Government on Thursday, called on the people of Aguogboriga Umuoghara , Ezza North local government area of the state to support the siting of International Airport in the community.
The government reiterated its readiness to adequately compensate those who may be displaced from the community as a result of the project.
The project site cuts across five communities including Amuzu in Ezza south local government, Umuoghara, Umuezeoka, Umuezekoha and anothercommunity all in Ezza North local government areas of the state.
Governor Dave Umahi had secured the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari and Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) for construction of an International Airport after securing some lands inEzza North and Ezza south local government areas of the state. Thelands include Amuzu and Oriuzor.
Recall that Governor Umahi had last week invited all the stakeholders in Ezza North and Southouth to a meeting in government house and promised to pay compensation to those that may be displaced as a result of the Airport project.
But the people of Aguogboriga trooped out en mass and protested the extension of the project site to their community accusing somestakeholders of the area of master minding the extension to enablethem build hotels and other facilities in the area.
The government said the protest was a distraction to the projectdescribing it as a handiwork of opposition.
The Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barr. Uchenna Orji while briefing journalists yesterday assured that the state government would compensate those that may be displaced and appealedto the people to allow the siting of the project in their community.
He said nothing will stop the state government from constructing theairport in the approved site, adding that all lands belong togovernment and called on the protesters to vacate the marked areas.
“Some villagers in Umuoghara community in Ezza north LGA, protested yesterday and impressions were given out. We were actually worriedbecause newsmen were there.
“we needed to put the record straight. As a matter of fact, the state government under the leadership of the governor chief David Umahi has a plan to develop the state and needed to build an international airport for the state.
“The stakeholders of Umuoghara community were consulted about the area to site the international airport. Consideration were given on the area of centrality and it fall on Ezza north and part of Ezza south LGAs.
“The governor did not only consult stakeholders but also held ameeting with the owners of the lands and decisions were reached on where to site the airport, that will be central to the people of thestate in general.
“The governor has severally met with the stakeholders and owners of the lands and issue of compensation was also resolved. It was agreed that enumeration be made so that where the issues of building and economic trees affected can be compensated.
“Before this administration, the people of Ezza north were soneglected and the governor said such thing will not happen at his own time. I therefore call on the general public to treat the protest with the wave of hand. It is just an orchestration of people who think that they could blackmail the responsible government led by Chief David Umahi” he stated.
Speaking with member 2 Universal Education Board, Hon.Sabinus Nwankwegu, he advised the affected persons to queue into the government directive as the ongoing administration of Engr.Umahi has the people at heart and would do anything within his reach to ensure they are given due compensation.
He enumerated that the benefits of the project cannot be over emphasized, and urged the affected communities to support the developmental project.