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Aviation Experts Slam Ogun Agro Cargo Airport As Ineffective, Wasteful

Daud Olatunji

Some experts in Nigeria’s aviation sector have criticized the ongoing construction of the Gateway International Agro Cargo Airport in Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, describing it as a wasteful and poorly conceived project.

The experts Captain John Okakpu, a licensed commercial pilot with over 30 years of experience and  a Group Captain John Ojikutu, former Commandant of Murtala Muhammed International Airport spoke exclusively with The Punch, extracted by PLATFORM TIMES.

 

Okakpu argued that the airport’s location is redundant given its proximity to Lagos and Ibadan, both of which already have operational airports. 

“That airport is halfway to Ibadan and the same as Lagos. Why should anyone go to Remo for an airport when Ibadan has two airports and Lagos has one?” Okakpu questioned.

Okakpu also highlighted the economic impracticality of using the new airport for cargo, citing the high costs and risks associated with short flights from Lagos to Ogun. 

“Flying in an aircraft for cargo can cost close to $300,000. So, how much cargo is the aircraft coming to pick up in Ogun?” he remarked, emphasizing that the costs far outweigh any potential benefits.

 Ojikutu, echoed Okakpu’s concerns, pointing out that existing airports in Nigeria are underutilized. 

“As of now, we have less than half a million tonnes of cargo for both export and import, which is too small even for the existing airports in the country,” Ojikutu noted. 

He questioned the rationale behind adding another cargo airport to an already underused system.

Ojikutu also criticized the chosen location of the airport. He recounted advising against building it in Ilishan-Remo during his time on a committee under former governor Gbenga Daniel. 

“I suggested that it should be located near the industrial area between Ota and Papalanto, which contributes significantly to Ogun’s revenue. 

“They refused due to sentiments without considering the benefits for the state,” Ojikutu said.

In response to these criticisms, Kayode Akinmade, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Information, defended the project. 

He  spoke with The Punch, citing  the airport’s proximity to the export processing zone and Ogun’s significant cassava production as key reasons for its location. 

Akinmade urged critics to wait until the airport becomes operational before passing judgment, suggesting it could be a game-changer for the state’s economy.

“No one can talk about what it will look like or turn into until the operation commences,” Akinmade stated. He emphasized the airport’s potential to streamline the export process and boost local agriculture, particularly perishable farm produce.

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