The Executive Chairman of the Nasarawa State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB) Malam Abdulkarim Muhammad Abdullahi, has described the call by a former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, on Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura to stop work on the ongoing Lafia cargo airport, as the height of ignorance and malice.
The NSUBEB boss stated this yesterday, while berating the former Minister and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) guber candidate during the 2015 general election, for elevating sentiments above common sense.
Malam Abdullahi pointed out that Maku should have consulted wisely before shooting off his mouth needlessly on a matter that should be a pride to every well-meaning citizen of the state, reiterating that funds for the Lafia cargo airport is not wholly sourced from the state but that foreign investors are injecting more than 70 percent of the N17 bn earmarked for the project.
“What Maku said was entirely his personal opinion and he’s entitled to such opinion particularly under this new dispensation. People are free to express their opinion unlike in the past.
“The funding for the airport project is not entirely from the state that is why when people just go into issues on the basis of sentiments, they completely lose the track of the essence of what an enlightened debate should be.
“What Maku said is a pity because Al-makura is not using the state’s fund but investors’ money. Is he saying the governor should reject the opportunity to develop the state or that after agreeing terms with the investors, Al-makura should divert the funds to other ventures?
“The Lafia cargo airport will definitely open up the state for great opportunities, especially now that agriculture is taking its right place. Our proximity to the FCT in the nearest future will turn out to be our cash cow and this airport will serve as alternative to the Abuja airport.
“It will provide employment opportunities to our people as well as generate revenue for us.
“Unlike what Maku was suggesting, an airstrip for dignitaries, Al-makura’s vision for the Lafia cargo airport is for widening and reaping the potentials of the rural farmers who will now have access to international markets”, Abdullahi said.
It would be recalled that Maku had while speaking with newsmen yesterday in his country home in Wakama, Akun Development Area, advised Governor Al-makura against building the N17 billion airport in Lafia, stressing that instead of building the airport in view of the current economic realities, he should use the fund earmarked for the project to provide other basic infrastructure that would spread across the state.
Malam Abdullahi, however, noted that Maku cannot share the same space with Governor Al-makura in terms of social responsibility as according to him, “the value orientation is not the same. While Al-makura is wooing investors into the state, Maku and there likes are busy exporting the country’s wealth to create employment in foreign countries”.
While lamenting the brazen theft of the nation’s resources under the past administration in which Maku served as minister, the NSUBEB chairman noted that with the unfolding revelations regarding the squirreling of huge sums of money meant for the purchase of arms, “such amount would have gone a long way to provide the infrastructure he mentioned”.