A relocation order by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, to agencies under his ministry to move their corporate headquarters from Lagos to the Federal Capital Territory within a 45-day period has irked a section of the industry labour groups, with some expressing their readiness to obey provided the directive was backed with all the necessary emoluments and allowances that accompany such venture.
Whilst the Minister’s order is generating uproar among stakeholders in the sector, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) has declared it will mobilize staff of the agencies to demand for full payment of allowances to those who will be affected by the relocation order.
National President of ATSSSAN, Comrade Illitrus Ahmadu, affirmed that it is the priority of the body to ensure its members’ interests are protected in such circumstances.
A letter dated 4th of May, 2020 and addressed to all the Chief Executive of the aviation agencies had directed them to relocate to the FCT.
Illitrus affirmed that ATSSSAN does not oppose the order by the Minister but insisted staff welfare must not be pushed aside just as he warned that the unions would kick against the crippling of activities in Lagos by the government following the relocation order.
“We will not accept a situation where you ask anyone to go without first paying him his relocation allowance and my advice is that you cannot relocate people out of Lagos to Abuja and cripple activities in Lagos.
“You should provide enough capital resources to continue to drive operations in Lagos while you move those few people to Abuja.”
He noted that some of the agencies’ staff were relocated in 2012, but it was later halted.
“Basically, it is not saying everyone should move from their various formations to Abuja. It is just saying corporate headquarters. In our industry today, the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) spend about three to four days in Abuja. So, it makes no sense. The operational offices can stay wherever they are.
“The challenge is this, I know the agencies were allocated lands some time ago, but most of them are yet to build their corporate headquarters, while others are in the process.
“In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has presence in virtually all the states, but its headquarters is in Washington DC. They oversee the affairs of the industry from there.”