• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

Lagos mulls establishment of commercial airline

Hardship: Sanwo-Olu appeals to Lagos residents to stay calm

…As Sanwo-Olu gives account of stewardship

The Lagos State has hinted at establishing a commercial airline just as it says preparation is gearing up for the commencement of construction work on its long- proposed Lekki International Airport.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed this, Thursday, at the Lagos West Senatorial District People’s Town Hall Meeting, where he rendered stewardship and presented a catalogue of achievements recorded by his administration in the West of Lagos.

If the plan scales through, Lagos would become the second sub-national to own a commercial airline, after Akwa Ibom State, which currently owns and runs Ibom Air.

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Muhammed Hassan, a former permanent secretary and retired auditor-general for local government in Lagos, believed the state was ripe to own an airline, and challenged Governor Sanwo-Olu to take a plunge.

Responding, Sanwo-Olu noted that the plan had been in the pipeline for months, with the state already finalising the financing model for the project. What is being considered, the governor said, is the Federal Government’s approval and operational contingency for the airline.

This drew commendations from the citizens, who attended the town hall meeting held at Balmoral Convention Centre on Sheraton Link Road, Ikeja.

At the no-holds-barred meeting, Sanwo-Olu and his duty, Obafemi Hamzat, mounted the stage to take feedback from the citizens, who asked difficult questions, gave an applause and shared suggestions going forward.

The governor said input from the public was necessary to guide his government’s decision on planned programmes and interventions before their implementation.

Listing projects and interventions taken in Lagos West, Sanwo-Olu said his administration had completed and opened 42 new roads projects and two flyovers in the district, with the combined length of the infrastructure spanning over 72 kilometres.

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He said the last four and half years had seen Lagos taking a leap forward in its socio-economic and development trajectory, but the governor said he was resolute in doubling his efforts to keep the State on the sustainable growth path as his second term progresses.

“Over the last five months, we have been working to put a concise plan together for the establishment of an airline, but we did not make the plan open because of the need to get adequate knowledge about the operational procedures of airlines. The business plan is viable and there is no issue about financing. The conversation has gone to an advanced stage but we need to get the proper information on operations before we go ahead to implement the plan.

“In Lagos West Senatorial District, infrastructure development has been our priority since we came in. Over the last four years, we have completed over 70 kilometres of new roads and over two kilometres of bridges. These include Pen-Cinema Bridge, Ikeja Flyover, and over 42 roads we have completed in Alimosho, Ifako, Agege, Ikeja, Mushin, Amuwo Odofin and Badagry. We also have over 30 ongoing road projects which are at various stages of completion within this district.”

Sanwo-Olu assured Lagosians that his administration would be raising the pace of its development strides, as he pledged to double the efforts to deliver twice the number of projects and programmes achieved in his first term.

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He said the new general hospital being constructed by his administration in Ojo axis was at an advanced stage of development, saying its completion would further improve health care access in the district.

Gbenga Omotoso, the commissioner for information and strategy, said the event was to engender an all-inclusive government in which citizens would have an input.