…….”We are willing to move but everything must be put in place including the full payment of the relocation allowance to the last kobo before you force us out”
Aviation unions are heading for a show down with the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika over the planned demolition of the headquarters building annex of three aviation agencies in Lagos.
The unions; National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, ANAP and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN have vowed to resist attempts by the minister to having his way for his personal benefits.
At a meeting with members of the unions across the three agencies, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA and the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, the leadership of the unions emphasized that, due process must be followed in ensuring all entitlements and allowances are paid.
The union members who gathered at the Freedom Square in Lagos to bare their resistance to the planned demolition chanted solidarity songs in loud voices and displayed inscriptions such as No Demolition of FAAN Office is fraudulent, Build FAAN Corporate headquarters etc.
According to the Deputy National General Secretary, ATSSSAN, Comrade Frances Akinjole, management has the right to relocate or transfer any staff but all he/she entitlements namely relocation allowances has to be paid and there must also be a conducive environment and office space to work which agencies like FAAN, NAMA and NSIB do not have in Abuja where the workers are to be relocated.
“If you want to relocate us to Abuja, everything must be put in place including the full payment of the relocation allowance to the last kobo before you force us out”.
Citing the demolished building of the then Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB now National Safety Investigation Bureau, NSIB in Lagos for runway expansion, the Secretary General, ANAP, Comrade Abdulrazak Saidu said, as of today, the land which housed the then AIB is lying fallow and nothing had been done on it over one year of demolition.
Saidu said, staff of the Bureau who were relocated to Abuja till date do not have a befitting office, squatting with friends and relatives while others are working from home in Lagos and Abuja.
He alleged that the forceful relocation of the agency’s headquarters to Abuja about three years ago and its management and other staff have gulped billions of naira.
According to him, some Chief executives got N15 million to N20 million for relocation.
”Some people collected N14m, N15m, N12m for relocation, who are they? the management, the directors, top management. Now, they are picking them one by one, GM’s, is that the way to do things without discussing with the unions”.
NUATE Treasurer, Comrade Safiya Araga stressed, ”We are not saying do not relocate, people have relocated and they have suffered seriously for it. What are the provision for relocation, has he meant it? What is the labour stands on relocation?”.
She added, ”I think the minister should be encouraged and be advised to go honourably because that is the best way for him”.
”If he must relocate all of us, we are willing and eager to go, there must be provision for our relocation, there must be provision for offices, there must be provision for accommodation and you don’t have all of these and you say we should start going, how can you do that”.