The Governor of Bayelsa, the Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, made history on Thursday as he embarked on a successful flight in an airplane with registration number 5N-BUV, from the Port Harcourt Airport to the newly constructed Bayelsa International Cargo/Passenger Airport, Yenagoa.
The emotional ceremony was witnessed by thousands of ecstatic people who besieged the Airport located at the Amassoma -Yenagoa Road to see the landing of the first plane by 2:30 pm, the first in any part of Ijaw land.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, stated that Bayelsans and other Nigerians witnessed the landing of a second flight operated by AirPeace Airline at the airport equipped with a 3.5 kilometre runway, two hours later.
Dickson was accompanied in the flight by his wife, Dr Rachel Dickson, His Deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, (retd), Chairman,Ma Bayelsa StateCouncil òf Traditional Rulers, King Alfred Diete Spiff, PDP Senatorial candidate for Bayelsa West, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor and others.
Speaking at the event, Governor Seriake Dickson who described the airport as one of the best in the country, said that it was built to international standard with the capacity to receive Boeing 747 aircraft.
He said that the sand filling of the Airport built by Dantata and Sawoe, which was done by West Minister Dredging was four meters from the soil and lasted one full year.
He said that the Bayelsa International Airport would serve as a free trade zone not only in the Niger Delta but also in the entire the Gulf of Guinea.
He said the airport was executed in fulfilment of his promise to “bring the World to Bayelsa and to take Bayelsa to the World.”
Governor Dickson stated further that the airport was one clear testimony of the fulfillment of his covenant with Bayelsans and the Ijaw nation that he would not play politics with development, security and the protection of the Ijaw nation.
Congratulating the people of the state for the great achievement, he criticized the Federal Government for reneging on its promise to construct the terminal building, which his administration has completed.
He took a swipe on politicians who were spreading imaginary contract figures for the airport and destructive propaganda against the project
particularly the Minister of State for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri.
The Governor who put the cost of the airport project at about 60 billion naira, expressed gratitude to the contractor, Dantata and Sawoe and Federal Airports Authourity of Nigeria, FAAN for building the airport to meet international standards.
The Commended the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Nigerian Air Force, the Army and indeed the security agencies for their cooperation to secure the multi billion facility.
He said, “This Airport project we are celebrating today is òf international standard. The sand filling is four meters from the soil. It took more than one year for West Minister dredging to do it.
“The Minister of State for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri lied that the airport was flooded just to de-market it. I can assure you that even the devastating flood of 2012 will not flood this place. It is sad and unfortunate that these people are just playing politics with the development of our people, politics of of bitterness, jealousy, and envy.
“The Federal Government said they were going to build the terminal building for us. We waited but they never did. In January we awarded the building, and that is what we have there. That is how they treat us and sadly too, that is how we treat ourselves in some cases.
“I thank the Chief òf Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the NAF for protecting the facilities. I am indeed grateful to the security forces especially the Army for their role they have played. I wish to let you know that our sea port will soon start. The Army is already building a Forward Operations Base there.”
Representative of the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr Clifford Omozeghian, said FAAN has already deployed critical personnel to man aviation security, fire-fighting and rescue operations.
In his goodwill message, Chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council, King Alfred Diete Spiff said that the airport would promote tourism, export and industrial development.
The immediate past Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Barr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo also vilified critics of the airport stating that it is the best thing ever embarked upon by any government.
Others who delivered goodwill messages include, the Ebenanaowei of Ogboin kingdom Jones Oweipa Ere and Director of Legal Affairs, Toyin Olajide.
The highpoint of the event was the dedication of Airport (to be commissioned on a later date), by the Anglican Bishop of Ogbia Diocese Rt Rev James Aye Oruwori.
The immediate past Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Barr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo also vilified critics of the airport stating that it is the best thing ever embarked upon by any government.
He said such critics have no moral rights to criticise the state government, as they have frittered away the resources and opportunity to build the airport when they were in government.
The Governor also used the opportunity of the occasion to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the Bayelsa people from the violence being unleashed on them by his party members in Bassambiri, Nembe Local Government Area òf the State.

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