By Amina Abdullahi Girbo
The Bauchi State Government on Tuesday, announced the official handing over of the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport to the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for effective management and economic development of the state.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after a meeting with the FAAN management held at the Government House, Bauchi, the Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Mohammed Auwal Jatau said the deal has been completed and the facility now fully handed over to Federal Government.
Auwal Jatau, who received the FAAN management on behalf of Governor Bala Mohammed, expressed optimism that the handing over of the airport to FAAN will engender more development for the state and the Northeast subregion.
On his part, the Managing Director of FAAN, Kabir Yusuf Muhammad, said already the Federal Executive Council has approved some substantial amount of money as a refund to the Bauchi state government.
The Managing Director said even though the money might not be the exact amount the Bauchi State had spent on the Airport, he believed it was a sizable amount to be used for other projects.
“We are happy that the Bauchi State Government had agreed to cede the facility to the federal government for effective service delivery. The Airport had been collaboratively operated by FAAN and the Bauchi State government.
“In a most recent discussion, looking at how to optimally use the Airport, the Bauchi government graciously agreed to cede the operations of the airport to FAAN not because they cannot operate it.
“It’s because they believe strongly that handing it over to the federal government will open it to more development, not just to the airport but to the state government in general. I believe that not only Bauchi State but the entire North East region will benefit more from the new arrangement.”
Kabiru Mohammed said Bauchi has done creditably well for constructing a befitting airport of international standards which provides easy access to prospective air passengers from not just the state but the northeast in general.
On his part, the Secretary to the Bauchi State Government, Barrister Ibrahim Mohammed Kashim said the taken over of the airport by the Federal Government will open up tourist sites in the state to international visitors which will also mean a unilateral development for other sectors of the economy of the state.