Osun failed airport project gulped N3.6bn before concession to Turkish firm –...

Osun failed airport project gulped N3.6bn before concession to Turkish firm – Govt

  • New contractor takes over, says operations begin in June 2018

The Osun State government has revealed that the MKO Abiola International Airport, embarked upon by the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, gulped N3.6 billion before it became unviable.
The state Commissioner for Works, Mr. Kazeem Salami and his Chieftaincy Affairs counterpart, Kolapo Alimi, disclosed this in Osogbo, the state capital.
While Salami disclosed that the government spent N2.9 billion on the airport, which has now been taken over by overgrown weed and bushes, Alimi added that the perimeter fence project cost the government about N135 million.
According to the two state government officials, the total amount spent on the airport was N3.6billion naira.
Our correspondent gathered that farmers and residents building residential houses around the site of the proposed airport, had further encroached on the land, owing to the months of neglect by the contractor, who was said to have abandoned the project after the government couldn’t sustain its payment.
But the state government has conceded the project to AWOL Group of Companies and asked it to finance, complete and put the airport into use for 30 years, before transferring it to the state government.
The Chief Executive Officer, AWOL Group of Companies, Mr. Nurudeen Ogunlade, said the first phase of the proposed N69 billion MKO Abiola International Airport in Ido-Osun, would be ready in the next eight months.
The contract was first awarded on October 14, 2012 at the cost of N4.5 billion, and was to be completed within eight months. It was later reviewed upward to N11 billion.
Ogunlade said with the construction of the airport, the economy and tourism potential of the state would be fully realised.
“The state’s tourism potential would not be fully realised, unless we build an international airport. And tourism is likely to be our foreign exchange earner for a long time to come,” he said.
Ogunlade said the airport project would provide 10,000 jobs for youths during the construction period and 2,000 jobs after its completion.
He added that there would be cargo and maintenance section in the airport.
The commissioner said, “As part of the airport structural design, there will be maintenance zone, which is one of a kind in the country and the West African sub-region.
“With the increasing alarm in agricultural food shortage in the country, the MKO Abiola International Airport doubles up with manufacturing product and warehouse food bank cargo sector.”
Ogunlade said the airport project was increased from N11billion to N69 billion under the concession agreement due to its expansion and other modern facilities that would be included.
He, however, said that the airport, which would be built on 839 hectares of land, would be funded, 100 per cent, by the company.
On the encroachers, Ogunlade gave them an ultimatum of two months to vacate the site, saying those who had built houses on the land would have to forfeit their property.