Leaders from the South East on a thank you visit have confronted President Muhammadu Buhari with a shopping list, including an economic free trade zone.
Aside from confirming construction work on abandoned Second Niger Bridge, they asked Buhari to make the trade zone in Eyimba in Abia a reality.
The delegation led by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and governors met with behind closed doors with Buhari on Wednesday.
Chairman of the South East Governors’ forum and Governor of Ebonyi, Mr Dave Umahi, said after the meeting: “We are also asking for economic free trade zone in Eyimba in Abia and he promised to come and commission it; the license has been given.’’
The governor disclosed that the meeting also deliberated on the state of Enugu international airport.
The president was urged to ensure the completion of the cargo section of the airport and an extension of the runway.
“Of course, we talked about the geometric power plant in Aba and we asked him to assist in resolving whatever the issues are so that power will be deployed to the industrial clusters in Aba and environs.
“We reminded him that the Enugu state government has done quite a lot on the issue of relocating major infrastructure that has been obstructing smooth operations of lives. We requested that he should take over the compensations of the affected lands.
“And of course, the issue of gas distribution should be linked to the five eastern states, to the industrial clusters so as to boost economic activities,’’ he added.
They appealed for the reduction of the completion period of the Second Niger Bridge from 42 months to 24 months.
“So, we came to ask the president if there is the possibility of paying up to 50 percent of the sum and secure the other 50 percent as bond.”
According to him, this is expected so that we can sleep with our two eyes closed and be assured that the job will not be abandoned.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who also spoke after the meeting, said: “We received very high-powered delegation today led by the Deputy President of the Senate and three of their governors and a deputy governor, and the Director-General of Forum of South-East governors.’’
“I think it is a remarkable visit because they came essentially to thank the president over the major activities that have taken place in the South-East.
“The visit by the leaders was remarkable.’’
Mustapha reminded the people that their political investment in the re-election of Buhari in the 2019 election would determine their fate in 2023.