A perimeter fence belonging to the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, was reportedly pulled down on Friday.
It was gathered that the demolition was done by thugs, aided and escorted by some policemen and unknown gunmen.
According to a source, some of the suspects have been apprehended by men of the Nigerian Air Force.
One Arch. John J. Emejulu was said to be responsible for the destruction of the concrete perimeter fence.
Speaking on the incident, a private security guard manning one of the estates close to the airport fence, Oriental Estate, disclosed that the demolition caused panic in the area as several armed men stormed the site on Friday.
The security man, identified as Mark Benson said they accessed the airport fence through the estate’s gate.
According to him, “at about 9 am, I lock everywhere, one man carry police and other people come break the estate gate keys, force themselves inside here and start demolishing airport fence.
“I called the estate chairman and other people, so airport people came and arrested him.” (sic)
In his reaction, the aviation minister, Mr Festus Keyamo, SAN, condemned the illegal demolition.
He also warned the perpetrators to put a stop to the act.
Meanwhile, a resident of Oriental Estate, Barr Vincent Egechukwu Obetta described the development as totally condemnable and unacceptable.
Obetta told journalists that, “we share an adjoining fence with the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
“When this thing was happening yesterday, we thought it was a terrorist act because a particular airline was landing when some group of men with the police marched into this place and started destroying the fence that will lead them into the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, property.
“As communities that surround the FAAN property, we called the attention of the government.
“This matter, the land in dispute, (if there is any dispute at all) is already before a court of competent jurisdiction and when a matter is before a court of competent jurisdiction, every issue that is related thereto becomes sub-judice.
“So, we disagree with a situation where people are using the police to perpetrate illegality. Since December 20, we have not slept in this area; we won’t accept it.
“We believe in the rule of law and we believe in the authority of Nigeria. But we are not going to take a situation where some people choose to be lawless.
“When the assailant was caught, he was saying that the authorities of the Enugu State Police Command approved his action; we will no longer accept the invasion of this place by some group of unknown gunmen aided by the police.”
Similarly, the Chairman of Oriental Estate, Engineer Chris Aniemeje urged the federal government to deal decisively with Emejulu.
He recalled that this was not the first time Emejulu was allegedly invading the Enugu airport.
According to him, “It is quite unfortunate the menace being caused by one architect J.J. Emejulu.
“He has been making trouble, destroying houses, fences all around, in the name that he owns the property, but he could not produce any title document to that regard.
“There was some time he came and broke the whole airport perimeter fence, claiming that his property is within the airport premises, and after doing that, he ran away.
“Now that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has left office, he is back, escorted by police and thugs.
“Even the one that happened yesterday being the 12th of January, 2024, he came with some unknown gunmen, and a police van.
“They were breaking down the already finished concrete airport premiere fence.
“We alerted the Air Force that there was a security breach; by the time they came, the thugs ran away but they were able to apprehend the man behind the demolition.
“It is quite an unfortunate situation that one man will be unleashing terror and encroaching on government property and we the residents close to the airport are no longer comfortable.
“I wonder why he should be left to carry out these activities and he would be let free.
“We urge the government to come into it; the federal government should apprehend him and deal decisively with him. I’m surprised that he is not languishing in jail after what he did in 2020; now he is back doing the same thing.”