By Abdul Usman
To show his biggest achievement since assuming office a year ago today, Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, led top government officials and others to witness the test run of the runway of the uncompleted Yobe Cargo Airport.
Yobe State has a poverty rate of 82 per cent and with majority of primary and secondary schools in dilapidated state and thousands of out of school children, many see the sinking of the state’s scarce resources into a cargo airport as a misplacement of priority.
“Right now there is water scarcity in many parts of Damaturu, the state capital, because many boreholes have broken down. People want water, schools and good roads. We don’t have a single fully equipped secondary school in Yobe State but the government is obsessed with a cargo airport, in a state whose roads are largely death traps,” a resident of Damaturu, who craved anonymity, lamented.
In September, Yobe State Government approved N11.32bn for the construction of the international cargo airport in Damaturu.
But barely six days to handing over as governor of Yobe State, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam approved additional sum of N6,067,305,786.91 for the upgrade of design of the the uncompleted airport.
Also in June 2018, the sum of N1.760bn contract was awarded to United Aviation Services for the supply and installation of communication gadgets at the Damaturu International Cargo Airport under construction.
In November 2018, former Governor Gaidam approved another N4.2bn for the completion of the international cargo airport.
The airport was completion was slated for May 2019 but up until this moment, it is far from being completed despite additional funding running into billions.
Activists alleged that the airport project is being used to divert public funds.