Khadija Saidu, Birnin Kebbi
The Kebbi State Government has debunked the rumours that Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport, Birnin Kebbi was sold out to an individual.
Briefing newsmen in Birnin Kebbi, the state commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Abubakar Ladan said there is no truth in the rumors going round the town that the state government sold out the Airport to an individual.
He explained that the truth about the matter was that the Federal Government took over the Airport following the fact that “All the airports in the country in Aviation sector, are in the exclusive list of the Federal Government, and there is no way any state government can convert them to their own or sell them to private individuals.”
Ladan further explained that the federal government had taken over 10 of such airports in the country after the completion of the airports by the state governments.
“These airports include that of Ekiti, Gombe, Anambra, Nassarawa, Kebbi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Benue among others.
The commissioner further explained that for any state to construct an airport, it must first get a cleared approval of the federal government, so after the construction of the airport the state is entitled to recruit managers, while the technical crew handling the airport are federal government staff and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, he added.
He further disclosed that after the take-over, Kebbi State Government demanded for the refund of money used in constructing the airport.
“And that was approved by Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari, sometimes in March, 2020.
Adding that the President had approved the refund of N16. 025 billion to the state government being the amount expended on the Sir Ahmadu Bello international Airport.
He also said the refund process is still on and as soon as the 2021 budget is being implemented, the state government would be refunded.
In a related development, Ladan also disclosed that the federal government had agreed the refund about N7 billion naira to Kebbi state government for the 2015 rehabilitation work of Koko-Dabai-Mahuta road and Malando-Ngaski-Warrah road in the state.
He said they have reached advanced stage of being refunded and is being processed at the Federal Ministry of Works, and it would be presented to Mr president again for approval.
“The amount we are expecting now is amounting to N7 billion,” the commissioner added.
He therefore called on working journalist in the state to always cross check facts and figures, before publishing their reports.