Thousands of enthusiastic Bayelsans, celebrated the landing of Governor Seriake Dickson and other guests, in the first airplane at the Bayelsa International Airport in Ammasoma, Southern Ijaw Council.
Youths, children and men thronged out in their numbers to celebrate the project undertaken by the Dickson administration.
A Boeing 737 operated by Air Peace Airline also touched down on the 3.5-kilometre runway (the longest in Nigeria) about 1pm, minutes after the governor arrived the airport in a private aircraft to a rousing welcome from elated Bayelsans.
The jubilant crowd received the governor and his wife, Dr. Rachel Dickson; deputy governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (rtd.); chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council, King Alfred Diete-Spiff; among others.Governor Dickson described the airport as one of the best in the country, noting that it would serve as a free trade zone (FTZ), not only in the Niger Delta but also for the Gulf of Guinea.
He said the airport was executed in fulfilment of his promise of bringing the world to Bayelsa and vice versa.
The governor noted that his leadership has never played politics with the development of the state, protection of Ijaw interest and security.
Congratulating Bayelsans for the great achievement, he berated the Federal Government for reneging on its promise of constructing the terminal building, which his administration eventually completed.He took a swipe on critics of the project, particularly the Minister of State for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri ,for shamelessly spreading falsehood about the project.
Putting the cost of the project at about N60 billion, Dickson expressed gratitude to the contractor, Dantata and Sawoe, and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for building the airport to meet international standards.
Representative of the FAAN managing director, Clifford Omozeghian, said that FAAN has already deployed critical personnel to man aviation security, fire-fighting and rescue operations.
In his goodwill message, Diete-Spiff expressed delight over the project, noting that it would promote tourism, export and industrial development.
Highpoint of the event was the dedication of airport to God by the Anglican Bishop of Ogbia Diocese, Rev. James Oruwori, while its commissioning is expected to take place on a later date.