Lafia International Cargo Airport project.
Cecilia Onah, Lafia
Since the inauguration of the Lafia International Cargo Airport on February 24, 2022 by former President Muhammadu Buhari, residents of the state have been looking forward to see the airport functioning in order to boost the economy of Nasarawa State, but their dreams are yet to be a reality as the airport is still abandoned after 20 months of its commissioning.
The Airport project located at Kwandere community in Lafia Local Government Area of the state, was conceive and initiated in December 2015 during the second tenure of a former Governor of the state, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, to open the state for investment opportunities.
The airport, estimated at about N10billion, was also aimed at easing cargo traffic at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the Federal Capital, Territory, Abuja, because Nasarawa is the closest state bordering the FCT.
Meanwhile, residents of the state have expressed worry over the abandonment of the cargo airport which has a 2.2km length runway, and called on the federal and state governments to urgently take steps to make it functional.
The federal government under former President Buhari, had renamed the Lafia Cargo Airport after the late Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio.
Recently, a resident of Kwanddere community, Abubakar Musa, told Journalists in Lafia that due to the abandonment of the facility, many indigenes who anticipated jobs at the airport were still jobless, adding that the full operation of the project would boost the economic fortunes of the state.
He said, “We are aware that Nasarawa State has many indigenes and other residents who are graduates. We have been waiting for this airport to start working like other airports in the country. We will be very happy when it starts full operation because many people will get jobs in the airport. So, the government should look into the matter and make more efforts to ensure that the airport is functional.”
Another resident who simply identified herself as Mrs Yakubu, said many residents of the state had been patiently waiting for the airport to start functioning before they would establish their businesses in the environment, adding that the airport when functional, will help small businesses around Lafia LGA to grow.
“If this airport starts working, businesses around Lafia will improve. The population of Nasarawa State will also increase because many people will be coming in on a daily basis, and it will help in providing opportunities for the youths. So, we are still waiting patiently for the government to help us make the project a reality,” she said.