Dredge Ikot Abasi, Mbo Rivers, To Decongest Lagos, Ipman Tells Govt

  • As FAAN say Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport is ready

The Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has called on the Government to dredge the Ikot Abasi and Mbo Rivers to enable oil marketers bring in sufficient petroleum products to depots in the state, instead of bridging from Lagos.

The Chairman of IPMAN, Akwa Ibom chapter, Mr Ubong Nyong made the call in Eket on Sunday, stressing that presently, vessels cannot freight petroleum products to the depots in other states, because the rivers are not dredged.

“The problem we have in the state is that we don’t have functional depots, we depend largely on depots in Calabar for supply of petroleum products.

“We are pleading with government to open the waterways so that marketers can bring in products to the state to avoid unnecessary scarcity,’’ Nyong said.

According to him, the quantity of products the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) supplies the state is inadequate.

He also highlighted that the state needed about 44 trucks of petrol to meet its daily requirement, adding that every marketer was entitled to lift 10 trucks of petrol, five trucks of kerosene and five trucks of gas monthly.

“But marketers in Akwa Ibom lift only two trucks of petrol in six months. We end up going to private depots to source for products,” he said.

He grieved that petrol was still sold above N145 per litre in the state because the marketers buy the product above the official price from private depots in Calabar.

“We buy petrol at N139 per litre instead of N133.28 which is approved ex-depot price,’’ he said, urging the Akwa Ibom State Government to interface with the NNPC in the interim, so that they could get sufficient quantity of petroleum products for the state to bring down the price.

In the meantime, the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja may be ready today, April 17, two days ahead of the deadline, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) indicated on Sunday.

Engr. Saleh Dunoma who gave the indication in a statement signed by the media consultant to the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Ariyo Akinfenwa, on Sunday in Lagos, pointing out that the asphalt work was 100 per cent completed, while the markings have reached almost 70 per cent done.

“We will be ready by April 17; but we are leaving the remaining two days for Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“We have written to them and they will come by today (Sunday) to do the preliminary inspection.

“They have to certify the airport that what we have done is in accordance with their standards.

“They have to certify the airport that what we have done is in accordance with their standards.

”If there is any observation as a result of the inspection, we will now make sure we carry out corrections,” the FAAN boss said after inspecting the progress of work at the airport.

He maintained that with the work done, the April 19 deadline for the reopening of the airport is no longer in doubt.

“All the critical items of work are 100 per cent except may be two items; which of course are the markings and the cleaning.

“Asphalt work is 100 per cent, markings have reached almost 70 per cent and the airfield lighting system has reached 80 per cent, ” Dunoma added.

According to him, the authority also used the opportunity provided by the closure of the airport to address other Airport Excellence in Safety (APEX) related items.

He said :”We are now levelling all the airfield lightings’ locations, all the installations and flash with the ground surface.

”In case of any skidding, there will not be concrete projection above the ground surface.”

The FAAN boss further explained that the newly constructed runway does not need calibration because the previous Navigational Aids were not tampered with.

“The runway does not need calibration. All we need to check is to make sure there is 100 per cent illumination.

“Calibration is done periodically. When the time come for calibration, the appropriate authority will calibrate the Instrument Landing System (ILS),”he said .

Dunoma also noted that the terminal building was also ready for  flight operations.

The Abuja airport was shut on March 8 for six weeks to enable Julius Berger  rebuild  the 3.6 kilometre runway.

The runway, which was constructed in 1982 was meant to last for 20 years, but had been in use for 35 years without major repairs and  maintenance.