Ho Airport under threat …as Fulani Herdsmen invade perimeter for fresh grass

Ms. Cecilia Dapaah, Aviation Minister

Activities of nomadic herdsmen, who have breached the perimeter of Ho Regional Airport in the Volta Region in search of fresh grass for their cattle, threaten the facility’s completion and scheduled opening date.

This revelation came to light when the Aviation Minister, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, came to Parliament to answer a question on the completion date for the Ho Regional Airport Project.

She told Members of Parliament that there has been a reported challenge of Fulani Herdsmen cutting the perimeter fence wall for their animals to graze on the green field.

On what steps the ministry is taking to prevent this, she said: “We have asked the contractor to put in place security men to ward-off the menace of Fulani herdsmen, and I believe the community should police the area on behalf of all of us, because we cannot spend money doing projects for Fulani men to use their cutlasses to cut through the perimeter and cause havoc,” she said.

The Volta Region is the 7th most-populous region in the country. Farming, fishing and tourism remain the main economic activities prevalent in the region.

Despite these endowments, there has been very limited trading activity between the Volta regional capital, Ho, and other major regional capitals such as Takoradi, Accra, Kumasi and Tamale among others.

The concept of citing an airport in the region was therefore to attract needed investment and boost the local economy.

When completed the facility will have, among others, a runaway 1,900 metres in length and 30 metres wide, an aircraft parking area; a terminal building to hold at least 150,000 passengers a year; a VIP and VVIP facility; a parking area for the staff; and a nine-kilometre network of roads around the airport.

Missed Project Timelines

Work on the project, which is 88 percent complete, is now scheduled to be completed by March 2018, according to the Ghana Airports Company Limited and project contractors.

The Ho Airport Project is being constructed by Amandi Holdings Limited, with Amalgamated Design as the project consultant.  It is a Design and Build (EPC Contract) Project and the contract sum is US$25million. The initial contract period was 18 months: three [3] months for design and 15 months for construction.

According to the minister, the contract was expected to start on 3rd August 2015, but was revised to September 18, 2015. The initial completion date was also revised, based on the challenges encountered, from an initial November 4, 2016 to March 18, 2017, and has again been rescheduled – for March 2018.

Ms. Dapaah told Parliament that the value of work done so far is estimated at US$19.7million, of which all payments have been made.

By: Eugene Davies | thebftonline.com | Ghana