By Peter Duru
Benue Youths Forum, BYF, an umbrella body of Benue youths, has queried the alleged selective restriction on the use of the Makurdi Airport against the government and people of Benue State, describing it as an act of impunity.
The group also expressed surprise that the Federal Government imposed the restrictions on Benue people, while its agents and officials continued to enjoy unhindered access to the airport despite claiming that repair work was ongoing on the tarmac of the facility.
President of BYF, Terrence Kuanum, yesterday, while making the position of the youths known, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, direct relevant agencies to reverse the restriction order.
He said: “The impunity reached an unacceptable height a few days ago when Lobi Stars Football Club of Makurdi were forced to embark on a tedious night journey to Enugu to play the next day against Cameroun’s UMS de Loum in the CAF Champions League.
“As the umbrella body of the entire youths of Benue State, we feel the pain our colleagues who play for Lobi Stars went through to feature in the game which was originally scheduled to hold at Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi.
“Benue fans were unjustifiablly denied the benefit of enjoying continental football which has for many years not taken place in the state. We commend Lobi Stars for defying the odds to win the game.
“This was not the first time that the Federal Government had denied a visiting delegation landing rights at the Makurdi Airport. The other time, it was a United Nations team led by Ibn Chambas who was billed to engage Benue stakeholders on free and fair elections.
“We understand that the same ban on the airport has hampered the take off of the partnership between Benue State government and Air Peace Limited which was to commence a few months ago.”
“BYF sees this development as politics taken too far.”