The Human Rights, Liberty Access and Peace Defenders Foundation (HURIJE) and Campaign for Democracy (CD), have decried deliberate attempts by Federal Government and security operatives posted to the Enugu International Airport to frustrate the airport so as to permanently shut it down.
The groups in a joint statement said it was clear from onset that the haters of Ndigbo did not like the upgrading of the hitherto local airport to international status, hence various antics being displayed to frustrate it.
In the statement signed by Dede Uzor A. Uzor, chairman Board of Trustees, HURIJE and national publicity secretary, CD, they lamented that up till now, the runway at the airport was not different from the one being used at the Local wing of the airport.
“The acclaimed international airport is a mere local airport that cannot even compare with some local airports, not even Owerri airport built by the citizens of Imo State” they decried.
The right groups said the on-going harassment and abuse of passengers by the security operatives at the airport was to discourage the passengers from making use of the airport by resorting to alternative nearby airports.
The groups said most times, the security operatives don’t have respects for the passengers as they ripped open their luggage and tore them at the airports.
It was also gathered, said the groups that the only airline allowed to use the airport was compelled to charge higher than Lagos and Abuja because of higher charges they were forced to pay.
All these, said CD/HURIJE, were to frustrate the airline, the passengers to abandon the airport so that it will ultimately close down.
They said “this has scared passengers away from the airport.No big names in airline industry lands at Enugu, no European and American airlines have ever touched Enugu International Airport since it was given international certification. Security men tore Passengers’ luggage and subject them to unnecessary , embarrassing and marathon search in the name of performing their statutory duties.These are serious attempts to undermine the airport”.
They said there was no doubt that a lot were not happy with the take-off of the airport, linking the constant harassment of Senator Stella Oduah by security agents over allegations of corruption to her determination to ensure the airport came on steam.
“That is why no tangible work has been done there after Goodluck Jonathan’s era” they said.
Another challenge facing the airport, the groups said, was the deplorable State of the road leading there, which has become death trap.
The rights groups urged the National Assembly members from the South East to rise up to this challenge and pile pressure on relevant Federal Government agencies so that they can do the needful at the airport.