The Imo state government says President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the refund of all expenses incurred on projects in the Sam Mbakwe International Airport, Owerri.
Declan Emelumba, commissioner for information and strategy, said this on Wednesday while briefing journalists after the state executive council meeting in Owerri, the state capital.
He said Buhari approved refunds incurred on both already executed projects in the airport in terms of infrastructure, as well as the amount the government is expending on the ongoing dualisation of the roads to ease movement from Ngor Okpala to the airport.
In 2019, there was a fire outbreak at the VIP lounge of the airport, hence the renovations and repairs in the facility.
Emelumba said the government is also making efforts to ensure that the night landing facilities at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport are installed before Christmas.
This, the commissioner said, is to enable ‘Imolites’ (a term used to mean indigens of Imo) coming from outside the country to land at the state’s airport instead of going through the Port Harcourt airport.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that all the expenses incurred on Imo airport by the state government in terms of infrastructure provision and renovation be refunded, including the amount the government is expending on the ongoing dualisation of the roads to ease movement from Ngor Okpala to the airport,” he said.
Speaking further, Emelumba said the state executive council approved an estimated N474 billion appropriation for the 2023 fiscal year.
The commissioner also said the council approved a proposal by the governor to empower 25,000 Imo indigenes on Friday, December 16, 2022, adding that this would be followed by another empowerment of 27,000 people next week.
He added that the government regrets attacks on expatriates handling the road constructions on the Owerri-Okigwe road and Owerri-Mbaise- Umuahia road.
Emelumba, therefore, assured that the government would beef up security going forward, and that the projects will go on unimpeded.
“Kidnappers are detractors who don’t want the progress of Imo state,” he said.
“Their plan is to stop the good works by the government and slow down the progress of the roads, hence the government has assured all contractors of increased security.”
Also speaking on the recent promotions of civil servants announced by Hope Uzodimma, the state governor, the commissioner said the council approved — barring any hitch on documentation — that all promotions affecting workers are to be payrolled for December 2022 salary.