Commercial flights to Military Airport in Makurdi, Benue State are set to begin in December as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the Benue State Government, yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding for the resumption of operations.
FAAN’s director of legal services, Mr. Clifford Mozeghian who represented the managing director, Capt Rabiu Yadudu said at the signing ceremony in Makurdi that the agency was passionate about the opening of the Makurdi aerodrome to civil flights.
“NAF signs a joint user agreement for both civil and NAF operation. FAAN under the joint user agreement will be responsible for the operation of the Makurdi airport which will include commercial flights, agricultural, and VIP flights.
“We shall work to meet our responsibility in the joint agreement,” he stated.
Also speaking, the state governor, Dr Samuel Ortom stated that the availability of the aerodrome for commercial flights would open up Benue State to investors who have not been able to visit due to insecurity.
The governor said the state had for a long time, been cut off from the rest of the country because no flight operated to the state.
He pointed out the nature of roads and insecurity in the country has made air travel relatively safe.
Nevertheless, Ortom said the state would now have more visibility like other parts of Nigeria that have airports.
He said NAF, in particular, had been of great support in the state, adding that facilities in the command, such as hospital, the aerodrome among others had been of great use to the people in the state.
“I believe that with the resumption of flight operations, within a short time things would begin to change in the state and the state’s economy would also improve.
“Benue state had been for a long time deleted from Nigeria map because of no flight.
“Some distinguish personalities who wanted to work with us couldn’t do so because of flights, they are denied such opportunity and we too are denied the opportunity because of insecurity.
“The challenge had been air traffic. I believe that in a short while many things about Benue will now change and the economy of our people will grow,” he added.
In his remarks, the chief of air staff, Air Marshal Ishaku Amao who was represented by air officer training and operations, Ai Vice Marshal, James Gwani, said the pact was consistent with the NAF’s corporate social responsibility and sustenance of civil relations with its host communities.
Amao said NAF had enjoyed a good relationship with the Benue government and people over the years.