The House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government, through the Minister of Aviation and other relevant agencies of the government, to ensure that the Warri Airport, known as Osubi Airport, is reopened for operations as soon as possible.
The House said the reopening becomes necessary considering the importance of the airport to Nigeria’s oil and gas operations and other commercial activities in the Niger Delta region.
The green chamber took the decision at plenary on Tuesday, upon the adoption of a motion of urgent importance moved by Oberuakpefe Anthony-Afe (PDP, Delta).
The Warri or Osubi Airport, an important facility that was privately owned and operated by Shell, is located at Osubi Community in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State.
Moving the motion, Anthony-Afe noted that infrastructure is built to enhance the standard of living, secure movements and attract commercial activities.
He said Shell Petroleum Development Company built the airport on its own and it was commissioned on April 15, 1991, landing a modern Dornier 328 and Aero Contractors’ 50-passenger Dash Aircraft. It was reckoned to be one of the busiest aviation facilities in Nigeria and was operated in partnership with other oil companies.
According to him, the airport was later acquired by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in 2015 and was leased out to Shoreline Oil Services Ltd (SOSL) who managed the facility until the recent termination of their contract in February 2020.
The lawmaker said he was “aware that the termination was as a result of the myriad of complaints by airline operators who use the airport”.
“It was alleged that there were instances Shoreline Oil Services Ltd (SOSL) could not provide power for the aircraft to land or take off and inability to fulfil the financial commitment to Federal Government Agencies such as Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN, NCAA, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Airspace Management Agency (NAMA),” Anthony-Afe said.
He said he was “further convinced that the report available from the different agencies concerned, such as Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) etc, indicated that the airport is viable and still meets up with every necessary precautionary safety measures especially during this Covid-19 pandemic”.