For years, Benue State seems to have wallowed in lack of aircraft unlike some other states in the then old Middle Belt zone- Plateau, Niger and Kogi.
However, with the fast development being recorded in the state of recent, the need for the State to have her own aircraft seems to be beckoning on the state, no wonder, the state’s first woman commercial pilot, Miss Rosemary Mnguashima Sugh, recently went hand-in cap to solicit for help in acquiring one state aircraft for the state.
Miss Mnguashima Sugh, from Benue state, has urged the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr Samuel Ortom, to invest in the aviation sector if he wins the 2015 governorship election.
Miss Sugh who made the appeal when she visited the minister at his Markurdi residence, said Dr Ortom’s ambition excited her because of the experience he acquired in the Aviation Ministry as Supervising Minister. She appealed to Dr Ortom to explore the possibility of acquiring an aircraft for the state and make other investments in the aviation sector if God elevates him to the revered position. The pilot who graduated from the Nigeria College of Aviation
Technology, Zaria, in February this year said the minister possessed qualities of a good leader including accessibility and urged him to maintain that quality.
She said Ortom had facilitated her interview for employment at her former school and added that the result is being awaited. Miss Sugh, an indigene of Kwande local government area of Benue State, expressed appreciation to Governor Gabriel Suswam for sponsoring her and fourteen others at the school and maintained that she was looking forward to a career in the profession. She presented a souvenir to Dr Ortom as a sign of appreciation and solidarity. While receiving the souvenir, Dr Ortom expressed appreciation for her visit. He disclosed that commercial flights would soon resume at the Markurdi airport following arrangements concluded by the state government, pointing out that he had an input while he was supervising the Aviation Ministry.
However, first class traditional ruler in Benue state, Ter Markurdi, HRH Sule Abega, has commended the Federal Government on behalf of the people of the state for rehabilitating the Markurdi airport which had been abandoned for years.
For many years flight had stopped operating in the airport, but the present administration incorporated it into the remodelling programme and it is one of the 22 airports government is rehabilitating.
Makurdi airport is a natural agricultural hub, which when fully operational would transform the local economy of the state as farmers would begin to enjoy export value benefits for their fresh produce. The state has abundant mangoes, tomatoes, oranges that could soon be exported to Europe or USA directly to supermarket chains and yams, cassava and farm produce, which have been the mainstay of the people’s lives.
Benue arguably is the food basket of Nigeria, so the planned perishable cargo programme is expected to transform the economy of rural dwellers and possible attract many young men and women in urban cities back to the farm in the state.
Recently the supervising Minister of Aviation, Dr. Samuel Ortom, ordered the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to terminate the contracts of some contractors handling the projects at various airports in the country whose work did not meet agreed specifications.
Ortom gave the directive when he inspected the ongoing projects at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, saying the government would not accept any job that did not meet international standards.
The minister also said the massive rehabilitation projects embarked upon by the federal government at the 22 airports in the country, including the five new terminals at the five major airports in the country, justified the N174 billion already incurred in the projects.
Among the facilities inspected was the new international terminal being constructed with the Chinese EXIM Bank’s facility, the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON), the fire service department, the N7.1 billion power plant, the general aviation terminal, the new wings in the international terminal and other facilities.
The minister said he was satisfied with the level of work done at the moment and promised that all the projects would be completed to specification.
Source: Daily Newswatch