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On Yobe State Airport -By Abubakar Musa Idris

It is no secret that Yobe state is one of the largest producer of livestock in the country and also has one of the largest livestock market in west Africa, the airport will connect the state to international buyers who can come and buy livestock at larger quantity and still go back the same day and the revenue generation of the state will be boosted.

The Yobe state International Cargo Airport has finally been completed and commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Airport which was approved by the Ibrahim Gaidam Administration in 2017, has cost the state about N18 billion. The contract was initially awarded at N11 billion, but the amount increased to over N18 billion as a result of variations.

The Cargo Airport is the first ever cargo airport in northern Nigeria.According to the state government, the cargo airport would facilitate export of meat, dairy products, Arabic gum, among others which would be source of foreign exchange to the state.
While their are different opinions regarding the airport. With stakeholders arguing that the huge sums spent on the airport could have been better spent on other crucial and critical sectors of the state such as Education,Security,Agricultue amongst other area. This is true as the state still have work to do to improve the general economy of the state. But the just commissioned airport is a welcome development as it has the potentials to turn around the state economy.

A cargo airport in the state has the huge potential of attracting foreign investors to invest in the huge and untapped sectors of the state economy . The mineral resource sector with a large amount of chemical mineral such as gypsum, diatomite, limestone and substantial kaolin, quartz among others has remained untapped which is as result of non existence of the airport.

Also, One of the major reasons for the construction of the airport is to boost the agricultural sector of the state through the exportation of agricultural produce such as soybeans,sesame and Gum Arabic. Yobe state is one of the largest producers of sesame, Gum Arabic, Soybeans and other export commodities. Sesame especially contributed N55 billion in foreign earning for Nigeria with Yobe among the major suppliers. This is very exciting as the potential of the cargo airport to increase these earning is high.

It is no secret that Yobe state is one of the largest producer of livestock in the country and also has one of the largest livestock market in west Africa, the airport will connect the state to international buyers who can come and buy livestock at larger quantity and still go back the same day and the revenue generation of the state will be boosted.

Also, Exporters in Northern Nigeria who are into export of agricultural and other commodities use Lagos airports and seaport to export those products and commodities. In addition to costs for transportation, which is very expensive, there is so much loss in time wasted and even in the freshness of some of the products when they take a week or even more to be transported from the northeast to the south, this has resulted in loss of revenue. The airport will ease these challenges as Yobe state will be an easier alternative to Lagos state seaports.

The benefits of the cargo airport is long term and the Jury is still out on the airport. Whether the airport is a success or a failure is up to the state government. If properly utilized , the airport has the potentials of improving the state economy and potentially making Yobe state one of the biggest commercial hub in Nigeria.

Abubakar Musa Idris
Bayero University kano
[email protected]

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