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Gov Fubara wades into women Protest at PH Int’l airport. promises to settle dispute – From Chukwudi Ejimofor/PH

 

Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has waded into the dispute between the management of Port Harcourt International Airport and Ipo community, which led to the temporary disruption of flight operations of the Airport by protesting women of the host community Ipo, on Tuesday.

Ipo community is one of the major hosts of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Women of the community had barricaded the entrance of the only road to the airport early in the morning on Tuesday, singing, dancing and cooking, thereby disrupting access to and from the airport, and causing flight delays.

The Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, who addressed newsmen after a closed door meeting between the Governor, women leaders and chiefs of Ipo community, and the Airport management in Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday, said that the feuding parties have agreed to a mutually beneficial peace deal.

He noted that while the women have resolved to withdraw from barricading the access road to the airport, the management of the Federal Government facility has promised to address the concerns of the community in the area of implementing key corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies to meet expectations of host communities.

He said that when the Government got wind of the disruption of access to the airport, it immediately swung into action, and invited all parties to a meeting to resolve the issues.

In his remarks, member representing Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Boniface Emerengwa, thanked the Governor for his swift response to ensure that the grievances of the women protesters were immediately addressed.

He also commended the people of Ipo community for their patience and understanding over the years, and assured that he would work in synergy with the state and local governments to ensure that dividends of democracy reach the communities, including Ipo.

Also speaking, Chairman, Caretaker Committee of Ikwerre Local Government Council, Dr Darlington Orji, lamented the neglect of the airport host communities over the years, particularly in the areas of employment and communication.

He expressed satisfaction with the Governor’s promise to come to the aid of the community with alternative access road, and challenged corporate organisations to live up to their social responsibilities by addressing basic development needs of their host communities.

In her remarks, Port Harcourt Airport Manager, Mrs Lynda Ifesinachi Ezike, thanked Governor Fubara for his quick intervention in resolving the crisis, and assured of the new management’s commitment to addressing the concerns of stakeholders, including Ipo community.

Mrs Ezike, who is also the Regional General Manager, South-South of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), said that the management was ready to maintain cordial relationship with host communities, saying that it is only in a peaceful operating environment that the airport business can thrive, with its attendant benefits to all parties.

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