FG’s plan to demolish Lagos aviation agencies’ offices in Lagos, a joke —NLC president
By Shola Adekola | Lagos
THE National President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero, has described the Federal Government’s plan to demolish the Lagos head offices of the aviation agencies at the Murtala Muhammed Airport as “a huge joke.”
Speaking during his visit to members of the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) at the Lagos airport, Ajaero, who used the opportunity to assure the aviation union not to fret over the planned demolition and proposed concession of the five major international airports in the country, said the government’s plan was dead on arrival.
The aviation agencies whose offices will be affected by the demolition include the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency ((NAMA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
According to Ajaero, “I don’t think any human can concession here without paying entitlement. Anybody that takes over here as a concessionaire is spending money for nothing. We have passed through privatisation and so we know how it works and we know the dangers. So, they are joking.”
The NLC president used the occasion to react to the recent statement credited to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, as saying that the government will soon ban the aviation unions from staging protests in the sector.
He said, “I equally saw the Minister of Aviation talking about illegalising the unions in the aviation sector and that is the highest joke of the century because he doesn’t have such powers. Don’t listen to anybody that is telling you he wants to take over the aviation industry, he can’t without following due process. You can’t shave somebody’s hair in his absence, you can’t say that you concession here and there. Things must follow due process; that is the way it is. So, nobody should panic.”
He condemned the failure of the minister to inaugurate the governing boards of the various aviation agencies for the eight years he occupied the Ministry of Aviation, describing all the contracts and appointments the minister made during the period as illegal, null and void.
Ajaero, who expressed surprise that there was no Board of Directors in the agencies, attributed the illegality to the presence of so many strange practices in the sector like the appointment of persons outside the aviation industry to head some directorates, which he said does not allow growth of career civil servants in the system.
He condemned the decision of the minister to constitute interim boards in place of the constitutionally recognised governing boards.
He said, “The issue of an interim board is an illegality. An interim board is not the same thing as a board, a properly constituted board by the Act and even in the Act, you see people who are supposed to be the board members and their responsibility. If anybody is running his office, his wife, his children, his PA as a board, he can’t take over the responsibility of a properly constituted board and until that is done he can’t even take any major decision including concessioning decision. Whatever they might have done as at now is void ab-initio; it is good we understand it.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Secretary General of ANAP, Comrade Abdulrasaq Saidu, described the visit of the NLC president as a great honour to them.
He also listed the challenges the aviation union wanted the national body to address among which are the concession of airports, condition of service, planned demolition of agencies’ buildings, weakening the power of the unions as regards aviation workers penned as essential workers and the absence of Boards of Directors in the past eight years.