FG issues approval letter to Lagos on proposed Lekki-Epe airport

The Federal Government has issued an approval letter to the Lagos State Government on the proposed Lekki-Epe cargoes and passengers Airport, Lagos.

The airport,  when completed, is expected to cater to about five million air travelers around the Lekki, Ajah and Epe axis of Lagos state annually.

Aviation minister Hadi Sirika officially handed over the approval letter for the development of the airport to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the opening ceremony of the 2022 edition of the Lagos Economic Summit tagged Ehingbeti on Tuesday.

Mr. Sirika said Lagos is qualified to embark on the project, looking at the cosmopolitan nature of the state.

The proposed airport, the minister said, is crucial, especially as the state embarked on its 30-year development plan to make it the model mega city in Africa and one of the best in the world, adding that “the airport would be effective to link Lagos with Africa and the rest of the world, through the aviation industry. The Lekki airport is the right step in the right direction.”

To him, “aviation has the uniqueness to link markets and opportunities, which Lagos can offer.”

Giving her welcome Address earlier at the event, the co-chair of Ehingbeti 2022, Mary Iwelumo, said the Ehingbeti is an important platform for private and public sector stakeholders in Lagos to engage around the state developmental agenda as it continues to be an invaluable tool for moulding the growth ambition of Lagos, having birthed several landmark projects in the state.

Iwelumo, who is also a partner at PwC Nigeria, said, “it is the intention of the economic summit group to introduce and officially launch the Lagos State Development Plan (LSDP 2052), a holistic plan that clearly articulates initiatives that will guide the state’s ambition of becoming Africa’s model mega city, a global, economic and financial hub that is safe, secure, functional and prosperous.

“With the growing youthful and vibrant population, there is no slowing Lagos down. Case in point, this year, based on the number and quality of startups, the Global Start-up Ecosystem index ranked Lagos as 81 of the top 1,000 startup cities, reflecting a +41 shift from its position in 2021.

“This is a substantial milestone as it is the first year that an African city (Lagos) made the global top 100 list. This is just one of many milestones recorded in Lagos. These successes will result in the migration of more people into the State. As Lagosians, we must be ready for this influx.”

The LSDP 2052- a plan for Lagosians by Lagosians, she said, is expected to play an integral part in galvanising the vibrancy of residents and sustaining the state’s growth trajectory for the next 30 years.

Similarly, the Commissioner for Economic Planning & Budget, Lagos State, Sam Egube, said Lagos is not progressing by luck or accident, it is evolving through the rigour of conversations and exchange of ideas coming from platforms like Ehingbeti and the commitment of successive governments, who are determined to execute resolutions reached at the summit.

“It is for this reason that we say in Lagos and argue everywhere we go that for the benefits of national growth, and nation building, Lagos should not be treated as just a state, but be accorded special status as a national asset. Lagos continues to lead the nation in demonstrating what her future can be and indeed take her into the continent as we pursue the objective of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

“As long as the earth remains, we will continue to have challenges that have not been resolved yet alongside victories over challenges that are being achieved. Indeed, the plane will take off and fly despite the presence of gravity. Also, Investment decisions are taken due to observed opportunities and observed progress. That is the spirit of Lagos, that is the spirit of Ehingbeti,” Mr. Egube stressed.

Governor Sanwo-Olu had earlier said that “around the world, cities were facing a combination of threats and opportunities that are amplified for globalisation, technology, climate change and even global pandemics like Covid-19.

“These threats and opportunities”, he said, “are often intertwined, meaning that, for example, climate change represents both a challenge to lives and livelihoods as well  opportunities for  innovation and reinvention”

Promising that the state is committed to planning and strategising, the governor said the 30-year development plan is in the right direction in its continued march towards global governance and excellence.

“Without implementation, even the best of plans are of no use to anyone. After putting in the work to craft and articulate the plans, we must proceed to put in the hard work required to implement it, regardless of the difficulties and obstacles that will be forced. There are no impactful decisions that will be made without some measure of pain and sacrifice. This is where dedicated leadership is required. As a State government, we will provide the required leadership to move from plan to action, and to transform Lagos from megacity to model megacity,” he pointed out.

Looking forward, he said, Lagos State will continue to achieve its potential, which will be built on resilience, its rich heritage of culture, innovation and entrepreneurship and most importantly, its people.