When the former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika ordered the relocation of headquarters of all aviation agencies to Abuja in 2020, many observers knew that it was a faux pas waiting to crystalize at the dawn of another administration. It was needless for the operation of the industry but apt for the minister who rode on his personal convenience to order the undoing of members of staff.
Neither Sirika nor any member of his team explained their reason for this movement like he refused to heed to the widespread call to halt the national carrier project that turned out be one of the greatest fraud and blight of the Mohammadu Buhari’s administration..
While Nigerians wait for the cost of this fruitless relocation to Abuja by all the agencies, it is expected that all other agencies head offices be relocated back to Lagos too because the effectiveness of other agencies is hugely dependent on the operations of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria(FAAN).
In a press statement last week, Mrs. Obiageli Orah, Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection,FAAN, stated that the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development,Mr. Festus Keyamo,SAN had directed the relocation of FAAN back to Lagos.
It said,“FAAN wishes to inform Nigerians that following wide consultations by the new Management of FAAN with stakeholders, which also involved the Unions, it was agreed that this was in the best interest of the Authority and the country for now for the following reasons:
“Those affected by the decision to move the headquarters to Abuja have since returned to Lagos as there is no office space for them in Abuja. It was ill-advised in the first place to move the headquarters to Abuja when there was no single FAAN building in Abuja to accommodate all of them at once.
“Having returned to Lagos, the Authority would be liable to pay them DTA (DUTY TOUR ALLOWANCE) because technically they are working OUT OF STATION as their official posting is to ABUJA. The Minister has decided to stop this waste of public resources and rip-off on the public purse.
“The other option open to the Authority was abandon the old FAAN building in Lagos to rot away and to use its scarce resources to rent an office space in Abuja for Millions of Naira of public money when in actual fact more than sixty percent of its activities are in Lagos given the huge passenger volume of the Lagos airports. The stakeholders and the Minister decided against that and to save the country this waste.
“The Minister has rolled out plans to get concessionaires to build befitting offices for the Authority in Lagos and Abuja and until that is done, the Authority will continue to manage its old building in Lagos that can accommodate all its Directors and senior officials for now.
“Abuja continues to have full operational offices and the Authority has not scaled down operations in Abuja one bit. It is just the technical decision of where the Authority has its ‘corporate headquarters’ that has been taken without affecting the structure of operations as they are for now in both cities.
.”In the near future, when befitting corporate buildings have been built for the Authority in both Lagos and Abuja, a final decision will be taken as to the location of the permanent headquarters, depending on the exigencies of the time.
“The Authority wishes to assure members of the public that it will continue to act in the best interest of the public and the country.
“The Honourable Minister is committed to taking decisions that are in the best interest of the country, especially as it concerns public funds and will not yield to ethnic or sectional sentiments that will derail this commitment’