Bayelsa Govt clears air on state of Airport

Says Bayelsa Airport is not downgraded

By Aherhoke Okioma

The Bayelsa State Government has made a clarification that the state-owned international airport had not been downgraded, as being insinuated in some quarters.

It said the absence of scheduled flights to and from the Bayelsa International Airport for a couple of weeks now was not the making or fault of the state government but has to do with some technical issues with the two airline operators.

The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the clarification on Wednesday when the Federated Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bayelsa State Council, paid him a courtesy call in Government House, Yenagoa. The Trumpet Gathered

Senator Ewhrudjakpo explained that two airlines, Ibom-Air and United Nigeria Airlines, were carrying out what he called D-Check on their aircraft, which had also affected their flight operations from their primary routes.

According to the Deputy Governor, the D-Check is a major maintenance check to determine the airworthiness of an aircraft after it had made commercial flights for a period of 10 years.

He pointed out that the state government was in touch with the management teams of both airlines, giving the assurance that normal flight operations would resume at the airport before the end of the month.

His words: “I can assure you that the Governor Diri-led Administration is very much on course. I know that you are going to ask us what is happening to the Bayelsa International Airport.

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“There are a few issues, but they are not really our issues as a government per se. We are aware some persons are pushing the news that the airport has been downgraded. That is not true. The Bayelsa Airport has not been downgraded.

“What happened is that the two airlines working with us have gone for D-Check. The D-Check means a plane going for a major maintenance check after it had been put to flight operations for 10 years to determine its airworthiness.

“If you watch very well, even flights in their regular or primary routes, like the Port Harcourt to Abuja route, have now been reduced to only one daily flight.”

Senator Ewhrudjakpo noted that government was doing its best to change the general impression of leadership in the state, he said the administration had taken proactive steps to checkmate the impact of the forecast impending large flood.

He called on the Federated Correspondents Chapel to help push out the good things government was doing in Bayelsa, noting that the Prosperity Administration was not resting on its oars in all sectors ranging from agriculture, sports, health and security.

Ewhrudjakpo thanked the media for their support to the present administration right from its inception to date and assured the Chapel that government would support their annual lecture slated for November this year.

The Deputy Governor, however, observed that the standard of journalistic practice was in a steady decline in Nigeria, and therefore, called on the Correspondents Chapel and its parent body, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, to raise the bar.

Earlier in his remarks, the state Chairman of the Federated Correspondents Chapel, NUJ, Mr Tife Owolabi, said the visit was meant to formally introduce the newly elected executive members of the Chapel to the Deputy Governor.

Mr Owolabi, who poured encomiums on the Deputy Governor for being media friendly, prayed the state’s government to carry the correspondents chapel along in its programmes and events, even as he appealed for support towards their forthcoming annual lecture programme.

Other members in the entourage were, Samuel Ese, Vice Chairman, Pauline Onyibe, Secretary, Aherhoke Okioma, Assistant Secretary, Emem Idio, Treasurer, Frank Shedrack, Financial Secretary Aherhoke and Eunice Nnachi, Auditor.

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