Snake scare stalls construction of airport

The Benue State Government, on Monday in Makurdi, said threats to release snakes to bite construction workers on site had temporarily stalled its plan to have a cargo airport in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government’s plan for the project on Kilometre 28 along Makurdi-Lafia road, was halted due the demand and threats of the host Nyie community in Guma Local Government Area.
The Commissioner for Works, Transport and Energy, Emmanuel Manger, told journalists that the community was strongly opposed to the construction of the airport without compensation first paid to the land owners.
“The community has threatened to release snakes to bite anybody, who trespasses on their land without paying full compensation to them’’.
Mr. Manger explained that part of the community’s land was earmarked for the establishment of a cargo airport.
He said that the community had attributed its opposition to the project, following government’s failure to fully compensate their kinsmen after taking some of their land to establish the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
The commissioner said that the face-off had since stalled the commencement of the project.
In another development, the commissioner said that the state-owned transport company, Benue Links, would soon be partially privatised on a ratio of 51 per cent to 49 per cent.
Mr. Manger said that the decision to privatise the company was taken at one of the state executive council meetings.
However, the commissioner said that the government was yet to decide whether the state government would take 51 per cent and the private sector 49 per cent or the other way around.
He disclosed that the Agatu-Oshugbudu and Gbeji-Afia roads among others being constructed had been completed and were ready for inauguration.

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