From Michael Asuquo Ekpo
Akwa Ibom International Airport has been stripped of some of its multi-million dollar equipment by agents of a top government official.
It has been reliably gathered that the Multi-Million dollar worth of equipment was stolen from the Airport recently.
Our correspondent gathered that there has been a grand design to sweep the theft incident under the carpet. And it is being spearheaded by the MD Capt Jari Williams and the Chief Security Officer at the Airport, Mr Steve Owo. ‘’The two officials are agents of Umana Okon Umana, the Secretary to the state government,’’ alleged a Senior Government official in a chat with reporters yesterday.
The Equipment, six units of Brand new sophisticated GUSH bird dispersal guns best in the industry valued at over $5M USD was stolen under the watchful eyes of these two officers who enjoys executive protection from the SSG from interrogation by security agents.
An equipment of such magnitude stolen yet has not been reported to the Interpol, EFCC, the Police and Airports around the globe, who should have been alerted for surveillance should the thieves decides to move the equipment outside the shores of Nigeria to any international Market for resale.
After the theft was discovered, few innocent Akwa Ibomites were castigated at the police station and released on bail.
While the two big culprits who know the worth of the equipment and potential markets are hiding under the shadows of Secretary to the State Government, Obong Umana Okon Umana since he brought them in to manage the Airport and are his direct agents, who have reduced the Airport into a conduit pipe of sort in siphoning Akwa Ibom State funds.
In an interview, an officer at the Airport, who pleaded to remain anonymous informed reporters, that the said equipment was erroneously said to have been stolen by the Youths of the Host Community, who recently stormed the Airport in protest of unemployment at the facility.
He said that the Management of the Airport at resorted to spreading the said rumor amongst Staff who know better.
During a recent interview on national television, Governor Godswill Akpabio characteristically bragged about the installation at the airport, saying it was ‘’the best in Africa.’’
The theft of the equipment is a way of undermining the safety of those flying at the airport. This is serious sabotage.
Members of staff of the airport who spoke to our correspondent said the two officials fingered know the value and usefulness of the equipment and should therefore be thoroughly investigated immediately and their accomplices brought to book.
“The Police should collaborate with the Interpol on this matter, by spreading their net in and outside Nigeria. The manufacturers of the gun should be alerted,’’ said a female staffer who did not want her name in print.
The Ibom International Airport is located on the outskirt of Uyo, the capital city of the Akwa Ibom State.
The first phase of the construction of the airport began in 2006 and was completed in 2009. Akwa Ibom Airport opened on September 23, 2009, and the first scheduled passenger service commenced on December 2, 2009, when Arik Air began offering flights to Abuja and Lagos. The second construction phase began in 2012, and includes the completion of a MRO facility and the construction of an international terminal and additional taxiways.
The airport project was initiated by the administration of Governor Victor Attah and was eighty percent completed at the time the astute architect handed over power.