Since the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika gave the order for offices of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in Lagos to be immediately demolished, controversy has continued non stop from members of the Aviation Unions.
The Aviation Unions have questioned the minister’s decision to proceed with the demolition of four international airports amid a myriad of labour issues yet to be resolved.
At the headquarters of FAAN on Thursday, the Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) held an emergency congress meeting where they unanimously agreed to resist the minister’s directive for the offices of the agencies to be demolished for an aerotroplolis project to be built.
Speaking on behalf of the Unions, Secretary General of NUATE, Ocheme Abah, observed that for very inexplicable reasons, none of the minister’s projects has been delivered till today. He has been in a state of hysteria trying to deliver the projects, for a gloomy administration. He said this rush to deliver at all cost has caused suspicion and a lot of missteps which he said if not corrected, will spell doom for the aviation industry.
He said: “We place on record our recognition of the large footprints of the Muhammadu Buhari administration on the aviation industry in Nigeria. The progress registered through the efforts of Sirika and the CEOs of the agencies in the past seven years, are indelible.
Though not visible to the larger public, huge modernisation programmes and projects have been achieved in the Nigeria Metrological Agency (NiMet), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian Air Space Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
These achievements have not only significantly improved flying experience in the Nigerian air space, but have had big impact on human capacity development and safety.
“However, our hearts are now greatly troubled to be witnesses to the ongoing bastardisation of the lofty objectives of the Aviation Road Map. Activities around the implementation of the road map tend to suggest that a ploy is afoot to deny Nigeria the benefits of its labour and natural endowments, or to divert such to private ends.
According to the unions, “nothing evidences this more than the fact that key decisions and actions around the projects are taken outside the statutory organs of the ICRC; the Project Delivery Team in which our unions are represented for example. Such important questionable actions include appointment of Transaction Advisers and approval of Business Cases for all the projects.”
Abah said that ever since the decision to demolish the four most major airports was taken, the unions have remained strongly against the idea and when the Outline Business case was made open to the public, they have also been firm and vehement in their opposition.