A Twitter user @Ekwulu in a tweet recently said that the recently commissioned Ebonyi International airport has been abandoned by airlines and has now been turned into a car park.
He also chided the former governor of the state, Dave Umahi, for erecting the airport in Ebonyi State which is one of the poorest states.
His words: “Ebonyi Airport shunned by Airlines turned to a motor park. Only God knows why the APC Ex Governor built an airport in one of the poorest states in Nigeria. An airport should not be the most important infrastructure in a state with a high poverty rate. SMH.”
Checks by Daily Trust on Sunday revealed that the airport since its commissioning by former President, Muhammadu Buhari has been functional and not abandoned although it is not experiencing flights traffic as expected.
A resident of the area who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday said that it is in use, but since it’s an unpopular and new route, it is not witnessing frequent flights.
The airport located at Onueke in Ebonyi State was later renamed after President Buhari.
Similarly, in a clarification, the project coordinator of the airport, Frank Ngwu, said contrary to reports on social media, the airport is still functional and not abandoned as insinuated in the social media.
“It is difficult to see a newly inaugurated airport in Nigeria recording the volume of passenger operations as ours.
“It would have taken other airports more than six months to be operational but ours has gone full swing since it was test-run less than two months ago,” he said.
The project coordinator revealed that flight activities are recorded daily at the airport as three aircraft conveyed passengers ‘to and from’ Abuja and Lagos, on Monday.
“We, however, solicit patience from Nigerians because a journey of miles starts with a step.
“We are deepening our passenger base with the commercial flight aspect steadily undergoing development.
“We have signed several Memoranda of Understanding with corporate organisations to boost our commercial flight and cargo operations and the dividends would start yielding soon,” he said.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that on April 28, 2023, David Umahi, the then Ebonyi State governor welcomed the first two flights in the airport which was estimated to cost N36 billion.
At the event, Umahi announced that the newly constructed airport would be named President Muhammadu Buhari Airport for the massive supports received from the president.
It would be recalled that Air Peace operated the first flights to the airport as its two Embraer 145 aircraft from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos touched down at the airport on that day.
The governor, at the event, said Buhari approved the sum of N10 billon for the take-off of the project, adding that several supports were also received from the Federal Government to ensure the successful completion of the airport.
Ebonyi became the latest South East state to own an airport after Enugu, Imo and Anambra states.
Conclusion: Checks by Daily Trust on Sunday show that the airport hasn’t been turned to motor park as claimed by the Twitter user.
This Fact Check is produced in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development CDD