Airport: Abiodun hosts aviation investors, projects Ogun agro processing hub in West Africa
The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Thursday, hosted investors in the aviation industry and declared his administration’s plans to make Gateway Agro-cargo Airport an agro processing hub in the West African sub-region.
Abiodun, while addressing the investors at the airport located in Iperu-Remo, said that the agro cargo airport is to expand the industrial base of the state and further open it up, said that when completed, the project would be of international standard and would handle both agro and passengers services.
The airport, the governor noted started with collection of approval from relevant agencies in 2006, stating that “it is situated at the centre of the state and will leverage on its closeness to Lagos, the economic capital of the country.”
He explained that the construction of the airport is in fulfilment of the vision his administration has for the state, informing the investors that it would host a Special Agro-Processing Zone, where conglomerates in the agricultural sector, would process agricultural products for export.
While promising that the airport would be one of the best in the country, Abiodun said many investors had indicated interest to invest in the airport, while the Nigerian Air force and the Nigeria Customs are to set up their bases and training schools at the airport.
“This airport has been built within one and half years because it fits into our transport master plan, it allows us to have a multi modal approach that connects the road transport to the sea or ocean transport, to the rail transport and of cause to the air transport.
“This airport is an agro cargo airport, but it is also an international airport, it is not an agro international, it is a agro airport, agro and international airport, so we will have activities for both agro and non-agro and then we have passenger traffic as well.
“We have one of the biggest cargo aprons in the country, our apron is like four times the size of the cargo apron in Muritala Muhammad International Airport, about 82,000 square meters. We are also constructing a second apron, so one apron will be dedicated for cargo, the other will be dedicated for passenger, we have runway that is about 4km in length and about 60 meters in width
“By the time we finish our terminal building, you will see that there is flow in our designs, our terminal building also looks exactly like the control tower admin building and the reason for that is very simple, this is because we envisaged that this airport will be expanding quite rapidly, so we wanted to make for a design that allows us to expand the airport in due course,” he told the investors.
Abiodun, however, disclosed that his administration would commence the construction of warehouses, submitting that “because if this is going to be a cargo airport, there is need for us to have warehouses.”
In his remarks, the Chairman, Access Corporation, Herbert Wigwe, said his company was the first to key into the vision of the governor’s desire to build a world-class airport in the state.
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“I think this airport will certainly be one of the very best we have in the country and perhaps in the continent, and I think when it is completed, it will serve several other purposes in terms of an export processing zone.
“I happened to be at the bankers committee at a particular point in time where we were thinking of how to resolve some of the challenges we are facing in Nigeria as far as export is concerned and apart from the seaport, this airport was designated as one of those airports that will be used to help to solve the problem of export in Nigeria.
“As a banker, I feel extremely fulfilled to be part of this project, a project by a responsible entity, one in which the leadership is fully aware of the implication to the wider economy. I am talking in terms of employment, development of the facilities and areas around the airport.
The Chief Executive Officer, Executive Jet, Siza Madiba, said his company is interested in developing an aircraft maintenance organisation to support commercial aircraft that are in need of support, saying there is capital flight as most of the airlines carry out their maintenance outside the country hence spending billions of dollars out of the country.
“The money could be spent in Nigeria where we have a facility, where employment is created, training is created and expertise is done, one of the expertise areas has to do with the supply chain in aircraft parts.