Minister for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has declared that restructuring in the aviation agencies is still ongoing. He stated that more workers will still be disengaged.
According to a statement by the ministry, Sirika disclosed this during a stakeholders’ forum in Lagos. He also declared that the FAAN, NCAA and NAMA will all be affected by the process.
“Already, the government has started redeploying, re-assigning, demoting and even terminating appointments of workers in what it calls improper placement of staff members at these agencies, especially in FAAN, where the workers have felt the full positive impact of the restructuring.”
About 21 senior officials of FAAN including directors, general managers were involved in a major shake-up.
According to Sirika, government is handling the restructuring in phases. It would go round in order to get leaner and more effective agencies.
He further added the ministry will reshuffle the Aviation Security Service in a way to enable its officials carry arms.
“Our aviation security is laughable. But we now have the approval to reposition AVSEC to take the shape of the Transportation Security Administration of the United States, fully kitted, well-trained and well-educated with firearms. We have the approval and have gone to the Ministry of Interior to enquire about what is needed. We are engaging them in an inter-ministerial capacity.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has mandated it’s Committee on Aviation to investigate activities of all agencies under the ministry.
On Planned Concession
Also, the minister asked, about the planned concession of airports, the minister said it is a joint venture between Nigeria and China.
“The Chinese terminals are not Build, Operate and Transfer. The deal was a loan of which the Chinese provided $500m and Nigeria provided $100m as counterpart funding. Even at that, the biggest of those terminals will be doing 1.5m passengers annually. But what we are looking at is different and larger.”
“The terminals were done, kudos to the originators for the best of their thinking; the one in Abuja, we will have to move it for it is blocking the control tower and the fire service. But we are already building and we have to put it to use. The same story applies in Lagos.”
Rehabilitation of Abuja Runway
Meanwhile, a reliable source in FAAN has disclosed that government has earmarked N1bn to rehabilitate the runway for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja
The runway had been in bad state due to overuse and had been a source of concern to Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers.
According to the sources, the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had set up a committee to oversee the work.
“Government is making urgent effort to start the rehabilitation of the runway at the Abuja airport. It has provided funds for the work, which could start anytime from now.
“The committee is expected to schedule the maintenance dates, which are expected to run from days to weeks.”
The source further stated that Kaduna airport has been designated as alternative to Abuja. Flights would be diverted to Kaduna while work is ongoing at the nation’s second busiest airport.
The Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, also confirmed the rehabilitation plan for the Abuja airport.
She noted that all efforts were being made to ensure the runway was restored to international standard.
The Minister is expected to discuss with the National Security Adviser to agree on the date work would start on the runway.
Abuja Airport For ICAO Campaign
Meanwhile, the Abuja airport is set to pilot the ICAO ‘No Country Left Behind’ campaign, the source has further revealed.
“The Abuja airport has been chosen as the pilot for the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s No Country Left Behind campaign.”
“The airport will be certified by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority. The process for certification will end by March 2017.”