Fact-Check: Is There An Airport In Kogi State?

Fact-Check: Is There An Airport In Kogi State?

Claim: A leaked memo reportedly from the office of the minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, showed an approval of funds for flight tickets and airport taxis for the ministry’s staff to Lokoja, Kogi State.

Full Text: In the memo which went viral indicated that an officer with the title of national programme manager initiated a request for ‘The Disbursement Under the 2023 Grant for Vulnerable Groups Programmes in Kogi State, 2023,’ and sought approval of a total sum of N72,374,500 which was approved by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Beta Edu.

In the memo, November 6, 2023, the sum is appropriated for the minister’s “advanced team” to travel by “air” for an “event” in Kogi state.

According to the memo, the sum of N300,000 was earmarked for the minister’s air ticket; seven persons, including a driver, are to get N200,000 each for “flight ticket” as part of an advanced team of the Minister, Betta Edu, to Kogi State.

The beneficiaries would received flat rates of N200,000 each for flight ticket and N20,000 also each for the airport taxi.

The Duty Tour Allowance of the beneficiaries ranges from N15,000 to N37,500 per night, while their local running allowance, which is 30 percent of the DTA, was put at between N22,500 to N56,250, depending on their status.

On the trip were public servants on Grade Levels 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15 and 16.

In all, they are to get N2,515,000 which was approved by the Minister Betta Edu.

The logistics for the disbursement was put at N3 million, while N60 million will be disbursed to some vulnerable beneficiaries in Kogi State. The final approval sighted on the memo, however, was N72,304,500 instead of the N63 million calculated.

A PRNigeria reader who sought clarification on the actual status of Kogi State Airport wrote, “…I need your help here. Some people claim that there is an airport in Kogi while some say it’s a lie. Can u help with a fact check?”

Verification: To verify whether there is an airport in Lokoja, PRNigeria fact-check confirmed from various credible sources who deny the existence of an airport in the state.

However, PRNigeria confirms the existence of air strips in the state. An airstrip is a stretch of land which has been cleared so that aircraft can take off and land.

The air strips in the state do not have facilities for landing and takeoff of commercial airlines.

Apart from a non functional airstrip in Adogo in Ajaokuta, with the Latitude of (7° 27? 15.59? N) and Longitude of (6° 27? 23.99? E.), there is another airstrip in Lokoja, the state capital, located at latitude 7.80095 and longitude 6.58210 which one runway. It uses NG-0007 as reference without International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) code

Similarly, there is also an Egbe Airstrip, in the West senatorial district of the state. It was created by foreign missionaries for supply of medical facilities en route Jos Airport, amidst other purposes. It was also used by the then Head of State, Gen. Olu Obasanjo during a state visit in 1979.

PRNigeria’s checks with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and websites of commercial operating airlines in the country however revealed that there is no commercial or operational flight on these routes.

Meanwhile, helicopters can land in several locations in the state. It would be recalled that Caverton Helicopter conveying the former Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on a visit crash-landed on February 2, 2019 on an ordinary field in Kabba, the western senatorial district of Kogi state.

There have been called for an airport in the state. Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi visited former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2020 where he requested for his assistance to build an airport in the state.

Similarly, in 2022 the Senate approved the rehabilitation of eight airstrips across the country in the 2022 national budget. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation then, Senator Smart Adeyemi, told journalists during an interview.

He listed the sites of the airstrips as Uli-Okija (Anambra) Bida (Niger), Zuru (Kebbi), Zaria (Kaduna), Kotangora (Niger), Ajaokuta (Kogi) Irrhua (Edo) and Mubi (Adamawa) airstrips.

Conclusion: PRNigeria’s fact check reveals that Kogi State has no Airport but Airstrips. However, the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello requested the assistance of the federal government towards the build of an airport in the state which is yet to materialise.

Verdict: PRNigeria therefore concludes that the request and approval for flight tickets for a trip to Kogi in an official memo are fraudulent as the state has no airport. Similarly, the claim of the existence of an airport in Kogi is also FALSE.

By PRNigeria.

About the author

Abiodun Adisa is the CEO of Applaud Multimedia Services Publisher of Applaud News Magazine and Online @www.applaudnews.com.ng

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