Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, made the this clisclosure on the Radio Benue current affairs programme, ‘Issues of the Moment’.
He said the stage was set for the signing of an agreement among major stakeholders including the state government and the consortium to that effect. The governor stated that the consortium was to invest $340 million for the project while feasibility studies had been concluded for its establishment.
He said because President Muhammadu Buhari was so passionate about the ethanol project, he had agreed to come to the state to flag it off.
The governor said that another foreign company from the United States had also expressed willingness to invest in food processing in the state and that government had decided to dedicate parts of Gwer West and Agatu local government areas for that purpose.
He said government had signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) with a lot of foreign investors who had indicated interest to invest in the state, saying his administration was determined to develop industrial capacity and promote the processing of primary agricultural products in order to boost the economy of the state.
Meanwhile, governor Ortom has explained why the cargo airport earmarked by the immediate past federal administration to be constructed at the Makurdi Airport did not materialise.
Speaking on Radio Benue live programme yesterday he explained that it was considered a security risk to have a cargo airport in a military airbase.
According to him, as the then supervising minister of aviation, he had an interface with the relevant authorities and was made to understand that the airforce authorities stopped the project because of its security implications.
Governor Ortom said because the Makurdi airport was not only a military airport but also headquarters of the nation’s Tactical Air Command, the authorities would not allow foreign airlines to fly in and out.
He explained that presently, for a commercial or private plane to land at the Makurdi airport, proper authorisation must first be obtained from the airforce.
The governor emphasised that because the Makurdi airport is not a civil one, there is restricted and limited access for civil or commercial planes due to its risk to military installations there.
Governor Ortom restated that the Makurdi cargo airport project was a private sector initiative spearheaded by a Chinese consortium to invest in the economy of the state.
He said it was the product of the administration’s advocacy to attract investment and industrialization following which a number of foreign investors were willing to invest in different sectors of the State’s economy.
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