Category: Transportation

Jubilation as First Commercial Flight Lands at Bayelsa Airport

Commercial flight operations commenced at the Bayelsa State International Airport on Wednesday with the United Nigeria Airline (UNA) aircraft touching down about 3.45pm.

The aircraft, which took off from the Murtala Mohammed Airport 2 (MMA2) in Lagos exactly 3pm, had on board the state governor, Senator Douye Diri, the airline’s chairman, Chief Obiora Okonkwo, Tokyo Olympics  Silver medallist in wrestling, Bayelsa-born Blessing Oborududu, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, Ambassador Boladei Igali, members of the Bayelsa National Assembly caucus as well as the state House of Assembly members and commissioners among other dignitaries. 

A mammoth crowd of jubilant Bayelsans had thronged the airport from early in the morning in order to witness the historic event.
Addressing the crowd on arrival, Governor Diri said full commercial flight would commence in two weeks based on bookings made.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, the governor noted that commencement of commercial flight signalled economic development of the state by bringing Bayelsa to the world and the world to Bayelsa.
His words: “This significant event is the culmination of the aspirations that was birthed by late Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former governor of the state, which was eventually built by Senator Seriake Dickson, my predecessor. And it is under my administration that this project was crystallised. This is a demonstration that team work truly works.

“I am happy to report to you that the pilot of the United Nigeria Airline said our runway is one of the best in Nigeria. It is our  determination to make Bayelsa truly the Glory of All Lands and we are making Bayelsa a construction site.”
Senator Diri also expressed gratitude to his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, and his team whom he said worked tirelessly to bring the project to fruition.

Speaking on behalf of the state’s national  assembly caucus, Senator Moses Cleopas representing Central Senatorial District, congratulated Governor Diri and Bayelsans for achieving the feat and lauded him for his visionary leadership.

In their separate goodwill messages, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, chairman of the state Traditional Rulers Council and Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff as well as Chief Obiora Okonkwo said with the airport in place, it would open a plethora of economic opportunities and place Bayelsa on the world map.

They urged Bayelsans, particularly the youths, to take advantage of the opportunities that the airport facility world bring to empower themselves.

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Bayelsa Seeks FG’s Assistance On Nembe-Brass Road

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said the state needs the assistance of the federal government and relevant stakeholders to construct the Bayelsa East Senatorial road from Nembe to Brass given the huge cost involved. 
Speaking during the weekly state executive council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, Senator Diri said as part of efforts to make the road a reality, he has met senior federal government officials in Abuja, whom he said responded positively to the state’s requests. 

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying the importance of the Bayelsa East senatorial road cannot be over-emphasised given the socio-economic relevance of the area to people of the state and the country.

He said all hands needed to be on deck to make the project a reality. 
Governor Diri remarked that relying on the Presidential Executive Order 7, the federal government embarked on construction of certain road projects with  private organisations in parts of the country  and appealed that same gesture be extended to Bayelsa. 

He said written presentations have been made to the federal government and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to ensure that the taxes that would have been paid by Agip and others to the state are used for construction of the Nembe-Brass road.

He assured that the state government was ready to play its part to ensure that the road was constructed and called on Bayelsa legislators at the federal level to support the move in the interest of the state and country. 
His words: “The Federal Government out of Presidential Executive Order 7 is constructing a road alongside some private companies in the case of the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas project in Rivers State. Federal Government is also doing same in the western axis in Lagos and other areas. So we are appealing to the Federal Government to extend same gesture to us.

“As a government, we are prepared to also bring in whatever is our  deal into the project. So, on your behalf, I went to Abuja to meet with very senior officials of the Federal Government and I can report to you that they received us very well. If all our requests are granted, from next year we can kickstart the Brass road project.
“I want to use the opportunity to call on all well-meaning Bayelsans from all walks of life to support this noble idea by this government, particularly those who are representing us at the federal level. Please speak on behalf of the people of your state.”

Diri emphasised that the doors of the state government would remain open for constant consultations with relevant stakeholders, particularly the oil companies operating in the Bayelsa East Senatorial District until the road is constructed.

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NCAA Approves Commercial Flight Operations At Bayelsa Airport

After months of expectation, the Bayelsa State-owned airport, on Saturday, finally got the nod of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to commence commercial flight operations.
The NCAA Director General, Dr. Nuhu Musa, presented the regulatory body’s approval letter to an elated Governor Douye Diri in Government House, Yenagoa, after the team completed the mandatory inspection of the airport and its facilities.
Dr. Musa said the airport met all airspace standards and is one hundred per cent ready for daytime flight operations. 

The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the NCAA DG as saying that the approval was sequel to the report of the agency’s inspection team, which prior to the visit had certified that out of 29 gaps, the airport was able to close 26. 
He noted that other requirements were non-safety related and that work was already in progress to achieve night flight operations.

He said the agency had to limit flight operations to daytime as the runway lights were being installed, noting that once completed, full approval would be granted. 
Musa commended the state government for the quality of work done at the airport and the capable personnel from the state that facilitated the issuing of the licence. 
Responding, Governor Diri, who was full of joy, expressed appreciation to God for making the long-awaited day possible.

He said issuing of the operational licence was a winding journey that began from the administration of his immediate past predecessor to when he assumed duty over a year ago.
Senator Diri commended former Governor Seriake Dickson for his foresight in ensuring that the state had its own airport. 

He noted that Senator Dickson started the project, which had been on the drawing board of past administrations and saw to its completion before handing over to him. 
He said his administration was therefore determined to ensure flight operations commenced as he set the machinery in motion to get the NCAA nod.

His words: “This is a dream come true for our state and our people. I thank God Almighty because this journey had been a winding one from my immediate past predecessor and I have been in the saddle for over a year waiting for this licence. Today, God made it possible.
“I also thank my predecessor, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson. This airport had been on the drawing board but he took the bull by the horns by starting the airport and virtually completed it. May I on behalf of this government and the people of Bayelsa appreciate him. 

“As I came on board, having seen what he did, my administration had to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. Having been briefed on certain requirements, I wasted no time in approving what was necessary to ensure that the airport was ready for use. Today, we have the approval for the airport to commence commercial flight operations.”

Diri also expressed appreciation to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the NCAA DG and officials for the approval and promised to do all it takes to get full flight operations. He averred that all the necessary facilities and equipment were in place and would be installed in no distant time, especially all the runway lighting system.
He said the  importance of an airport cannot be overemphasised, particularly in the South-South region that is the centre of oil and gas activities in the country.  

“Bayelsa State is a major contributor to the oil and gas business in Nigeria. Bayelsa is the centre not only of oil and gas but also other economic activities within the South-South and the South-East.
“So, the Bayelsa airport is critical not only to Bayelsans but indeed the people of the South-South,  South-East and by extension the nearby countries. We are at the border with the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.

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Bayelsa Airport Ready, Says Gov Diri

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said the state-owned airport is ready for commercial flight operations. 
Governor Diri stated this when he made an unscheduled visit to the facility ahead of a final certification visitation by the country’s aviation regulatory authorities on March 30.

In a press release, his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as saying that the state government had provided the required facilities for the smooth take-off of operations at the airport.

His words: “I have spent over one year on this project after taking over from my predecessor in office, Senator Seriake Dickson, who initiated it. What we are doing now is dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. So far, I think every requirement is on ground.

“I believe when the inspection teams from the aviation authorities come, they would be satisfied with what we have done and grant us the licence for commercial use of the airport.”

The governor expressed the hope that after the inspection and final submission of the reports, commercial activities would commence at the airport.

He was accompanied on the visit by the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Surv. Moses Teibowei, his Information, Orientation and Strategy counterpart, Ayibaina Duba, Managing Director of the Bayelsa Airport, Captain Bunmi Williams and other top government functionaries. 

Last week in Uyo, Governor Diri disclosed that Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states have reached a tentative agreement for Ibom Air owned by the Akwa Ibom State government to ply the Bayelsa airport route when it commences commercial operations. 

Earlier, Governor Diri also inspected the ongoing construction of the 4.5km Igbedi-Opokuma road project, where he expressed satisfaction with the work of the contractors, Paache Construction Limited.

“The contractors are doing their best. I expect that they would keep to the completion timeline. I urge them to  sustain the momentum that we have seen,” he said.

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