Following the Federal Government’s decision to take over the Gombe International Airport, the state government has demanded N10bn as compensation.
Disclosing this after the breakdown of the 2023 budget, the state Commissioner for Finance, Muhammad Magaji, said it was only fair that Gombe State gets the amount due to the expenditure to bring the facility up to international standards.
The commissioner gathered this from a comparison of the 2022/2023 capital receipts where the Federal Government is expected to return N10bn, 11.4 per cent of the total capital receipts.
Magaji explained, “There is a policy of the Federal Government to take over airports from state governments because airports are also called as security assets because we don’t just use them for commercial purposes, they are also used for military purposes and because of their strategic nature. Gombe, an air force base in the central north-east positioned with a tactical, the Federal Government felt the need to take over the Gombe Airport.
“It can serve dual purposes of commercial and military purposes and so Gombe State has spent over N11b to put up the airport. It is a 3.5-3.6km runway airport. It was built based on international standards; it was expensive. So of course, if the Federal Government takes it, it is only fair that the Federal Government reimburses the state government for the amount it spent on the construction of the airport, that is why you see the N10b captured.”
Governor Muhammadu Yahaya of Gombe State proposed N173.6bn but later signed off on N176bn.
Magaji explained during the breakdown that the increase showed the beauty of democracy.
“The executive did his part and presented himself to the legislature. Parliament has the power to determine the size. It worked together with us,” added Magaji.