Home Unions Passengers stranded, gridlock as aviation unions embark on warning strike, photojournalist assaulted

Passengers stranded, gridlock as aviation unions embark on warning strike, photojournalist assaulted

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Vehicular activities was brought to a halt at the Lagos airports this morning as aviation unions blocked all roads leading into the airports.

Many passengers, airport users and the motoring public were stranded along the Ikeja under bridge, Agege Ikeja along, Oshodi into the International and local airports terminals.

All entries into the aviation agencies were under lock and the union members gathered at the roundabout leading into the domestic and international airports.

The situation was reported to be the same across airports in the country.

Security officials, Airforce, DSS, SSS, Army, police, NSCDC including FRSC, LASTMA were deployed to the area.

The union leaders and their members carried placards and singing solidarity songs calling on the Federal governments to accede to their demands.

According to the Secretary General, National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba said, what they want is for the release of the condition of service, CoS as negotiated between them and four aviation agencies for over seven years.

“Implementation of minimum wage consequential adjustments and arrears for the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NiMet since 2019 and the planned demolition exercise of the agency buildings in Lagos by the Minister of Aviation”.

The Secretaries General of the unions, National Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreation Services Employees took turns to address the protesting workers.

As regards flight operations, few aircraft were seen taking off and landing, however, airlines could not operate their full flights for the day especially on a Monday.

While the union did not block entry into the terminals, passengers could not access the terminals with their vehicles, those who came on commercial vehicles had to come down at the middle of the road to trek with their luggage into the airports. 

A photojournalist with Daily Trust, Mr. Ben Uwalaka in an attempt to capture a passenger with her children boarding an okada into the airport terminal was assulted by a police officer who alleged he was trying to capture him on camera.

The police officer dragged him to the domestic airport police station and detained him.

His camera was destroyed, it took the intervention of the Divisional police officer and members of the unions for his release.

Officers attached to the local airport police station denied knowing the police officer who dragged the photojournalist to the station.

The unions have pledged to ensure that, Mr. Uwalaka get justice for being assulted in performing his duty.

After series of pleas and interventions from security agencies and from the industry, the unions decided to vacant the area for free flow of traffic and assured that day two of the warning strikw would continue tomorrow in another location yet to be known.

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