The controversy surrounding the planned citing of an airport in the Uzairue Kingdom in Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State which is be- ing opposed by the people of neighbouring Okpella in Etsako East Local Gov- ernment Area continued yesterday as a group: Bul- lets of the Harmless Rab- bit (BHR) has described the position of Okpella people as an attempt to politicise the project.
A statement by the founder of the group, Lukeman Akemokue, who is from Okpella said the proposed airport is a project that would benefit the public while the airstrip being planned by investors in Okpella was a private initiative.
He said there is no truth that the planned air- strip has been hijacked by the state government, nei- ther has the government through the deputy gover- nor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, “clandestinely” moved an airport meant for Okpella to Uzairue as being insinuated.
He said, “First, what Dangote and BUA Ce- ment companies are pro- posing in Okpella are air- strips for their private use, not an airport for public use.
“Government cannot dictate to Dangote or BUA where to locate their private airstrips meant for their private use only. The insinuation that a private project is being hijacked and relocated from Okpella to Uzairue by the deputy governor is, therefore, mis- chievous and misplaced.”
On the issue that Okpella was mentioned by the Federal Ministry of Aviation as a community in Uzairue kingdom, he said, “As for the use of names of two different communi- ties-Okpella and Uzairue- as the location of the
project, there is nothing clandestine about it.
“Preliminary Google map snap observations suggested two suitable lands between Uzairue and Okpella communities, one by the left, and the other by the right, when going to Okpella from Uzairue.
“The deputy governor in his usual show of fair- ness and wisdom, there- fore, instructed as follows: (a) if the project is situated wholly in Okpella land, name it Okpella Airport; (b) if it is wholly Uzairue, name it Uzairue Airport; (c) but if it is situated in the lands belonging to the two communities, call it Okpella-Uzairue Airport. It was on the basis of this logical reasoning this dual- name was adopted by the inspectors, pending when the actual geographical coordinates will reveal the exact community(ies) the project is located.”