Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio has inaugurated construction work on Phase II of the Ibom International Airport, which consists of a second runway/taxiway, apron and new terminal.
The commencement of work on the project is in keeping with his campaign promises and resolute drive to transform the state into a major player in Nigeria and the world.
The immediate-past administration of Obong Victor Attah in the state awarded the airport project Phase I to Dyncorp, which achieved about 18 percent completion of the project before Akpabio came on the saddle. Committed to delivering on his campaign promises, Akpabio re-awarded the runway to Messrs Gitto Nigeria Ltd with a marching order to complete it in 12 months.
Gitto delivered the project in ten months and the airport went into operations and has been running for more than two years.
In furtherance of its political milestones, the Akpabio administration embarked on Phase II of the project to enhance the international status of the airport. In this phase, which involves a 3.4 km runway-taxiway, apron and new terminal, Gitto Nigeria Ltd was awarded the runway/taxiway and apron.
The commencement of the construction work was attended by the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Special Adviser on Infrastructure, Permanent Secretaries, top functionaries of the state government, the Managing Director of the airport and dignitaries from all walks of life.
Inaugurating the project, Governor Akpabio enjoined the people of the state to take advantage of the development opportunities being thrown up by the programmes of his administration.
Speaking on his infrastructural programmes, Akpabio said: “My vision and mission is to put all major infrastructure for sustainable development of the state in place. This will make it easier for subsequent administrations to build on those solid foundations and sustain the momentum of development for the benefit of the people of Akwa-Ibom towards a greater Nigeria.”
He congratulated Gitto Nigeria Limited for winning the contract and commencing work.
Akpabio commended the company for being a committed and reliable partner in the development of the state, recalling that Gitto constructed the first runway to specification and completed it in record time.
The governor said he was, therefore, not surprised that the company won the contract for the new runway/taxiway and apron.
The project consultant commended the earlier work done by Gitto, stating that when the new runway/taxiway and apron are completed, the airport would have the capacity to receive such aircraft as Airbus 380, which is currently the heaviest aircraft in the aviation industry.
He said he had no iota of doubt that the contractor would maintain its standards of performance and prompt delivery of project.
The Special Adviser on Infrastructure, Etido Inyang, said Gitto was performing very well in Akwa-Ibom because the government was giving it the necessary support, making available to it administrative and technical efficiency of all the departments of government involved in project delivery.
He also spoke of prompt payment for certified works.
Reacting to allegations in some newspaper reports against the quality of work of Gitto Nigeria Limited, the company’s Managing Director, Domenico Gitto, said he would prefer that his works and his clients speak for him as such would be based on verifiable facts.
He promised that if the client kept to the letters and spirit of the contracts awarded and the community provided the company the enabling environment, Gitto would deliver projects within the contracted timeframe.
The airport Managing Director said the project would improve the service delivery capacity of the Ibom International Airport and place it in a better position to contribute its quota in driving the Akwa-Ibom economy towards industrialization and by so doing improve the standard of living of the people.
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