Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue on Saturday flagged off the construction of a N38 billion cargo airport at Dauda in Guma Local Government Area of the state.
Ortom said the project would provide a platform for quick evacuation of farm produce from the state to markets abroad. According to him, the effort would be beneficial to rural farmers, boost agricultural activities and cut post harvest losses.
He said that as part of the airport project, the government envisaged the springing up of industries, power plants, estates and other economic activities in the area.
“This project, when completed, will serve as a direct connection to the world’s economic powers and provide opportunity for the international community to have direct and easy access to our local produce.
“We are partnering Cargopolis Development Consortium (CDC) to build this airport because the Nigerian Air Force have refused to share their Makurdi terminal with us for the construction of a cargo wing.
“The flagging off of this project has put shame on the faces of the opposition elements in the state who have chosen to see nothing good in the APC-led administration in the state.”
The governor added that the project would turn around the entire economic fortunes of the community and the state at large. Earlier, a representative of CDC, Mr Robert Orya, explained that the company had signed a 25 year concession agreement with the government to construct and manage the airport.
He said that the airport would be completed in 18 months, adding that under the agreement, the company would train 15 people from the state as pilots. Earlier, the Commissioner for Works and Transport, Mr Emmanuel Manger, said that the airport would have a general cargo warehouse and cold store, and was designed to meet international standard.