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Panic as thugs allegedly aided by police pull down Enugu airport fence

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The Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu experienced panic on Friday due to the demolition of its perimeter fence. The demolition, carried out by thugs, incited tension among nearby estate residents and airport workers. Some of the perpetrators were arrested after a swift response by the Nigerian Air Force.

Confusion arose over claims that the demolition was facilitated by the police and unknown gunmen. This incident was not the first attack on the airport. Similar demolition occurred in August 2020, which prompted strong reactions from the then aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, and the immediate past Enugu Governor, Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

Arch. John J. Emejulu, accused of being responsible for the destruction of the concrete perimeter fence in 2020, is implicated again in the recent incident. This time, the demolition was carried out by armed men and thugs who invaded the area through the estate’s gate.

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The aviation minister, Mr Festus Keyamo, SAN, expressed dissatisfaction with the situation and initiated measures to hold the perpetrators accountable. Enugu airport manager, Mr Hillary Umunna, also visited the scene accompanied by other aviation workers.

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Residents from Oriental Estate expressed condemnation and concern over the breach, emphasizing the importance of abiding by the rule of law. They denounced the use of the police to perpetrate illegality and called for decisive actions against the assailants.

Engineer Chris Aniemeje, the Chairman of Oriental Estate, urged the federal government to decisively deal with Emejulu, emphasizing his previous involvements in similar incidents. Other landlords within the airport neighborhood also decried the situation, expressing fears for their safety.

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The Enugu State government expressed dismay over the fence demolition and pledged to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. However, attempts to obtain reactions from the Enugu State Police Command and Emejulu were unsuccessful.

It remains unclear whether Emejulu has been released by the police, but his car was seen within the premises of the Airport Police Division, and a police source confirmed he was transferred to the State CID.

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