•Says, Lagos airport operating below capacity
By Prince Okafor
The Federal government weekend, insisted that there is no going back on the demolition of some buildings obstructing the expansion of the newly constructed Murtala Muhammadu international Airport Two (MMIA2), in Lagos.
This came even as the Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika, stated that the structures are responsible for the Lagos airport operating below capacity.
Sirika stated that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN annex will be demolished to give way for aerotropolis (airport city)
He noted that the two obstacles which include, Dominion and Evergreen Apple hangars and offices along with the FAAN, annex headquarters, would be demolished.
Vanguard Aviation World gathered that the two hangars to be demolished, Dominion hangar is owed by Bishop David Oyedepo, founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide and Evergreen Apple bythe former Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren.
Recall that the minister in March last year demolished the office complex of the former Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), now Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) for allegedly obstructing the apron expansion of the new terminal.
“The landed property and facilities at the AIB complex were said to be worthabout N5 billion before the demolition exercise took place.
“Following the demolition of the building, other office complexes within the same area were not demolished as their owners sued the Federal Government incourt for its attempt to pull down their structures.
“The company claimed that their structures at the present sites have valid papers and approvals from the constituted authorities.
“However, speaking at the sideline of the unveiling of 10 firefighting trucks in Lagos, Sirika said: “We are not operating the Lagos airport at full capacity and it is household knowledge now, we have some obstructions that would be removed within the next one or two weeks so that, we can expand the apron so that, Lagos can have the full airportin full use to 100 percent.
“The structures which are worth over $300 million investment will give way for the new airport to be more efficient.
”And they can’t sit there in the public interest and we would certainly shift them somewhere, it has to go. You cannot deny this city Lagos and the country in general from the use of their airport.
”When we demolished the AIB building that belongs to us, some people say it is to move them to Abuja, they have never been in Lagos, their headquarters is in Abuja and if the entire country is to move to Abuja, what is small AIB OF 200 people. I don’t need to demolish their building, if I say go and he doesn’t go, I fire him, I appointed him, bigdeal.
“The agencies have been directed toput together document of all safety and security-critical items that would make the industry more efficient, more profitable for posterity to form his handing over notes.
”Governmentis a serious business, if there is no government we will not be able to exist, so, what needs to be done will be done”.
Meanwhile, the aviation union have frowned over the federal government’s move to demolish the structures.The union comprises of Air Transport Staff Senior Services of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, the Nigerian Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, ANAP.They vowed to resist any attempt bythe Federal Government to demolish the properties. According to ATSSSAN, General Secretary, Francis Akinjole, stated that there was no rational for theplanned demolition of the FAAN office and others in Lagos.
He said: “The present administration had barely two months to exit the office, yet demolition of aviationagencies topped their priority list.
“The planned action of theminister is unwarranted, and the unions and their members will not be taken unawares by the government’s plans.
“The unions are not against theplanned demolition of the agency’s annex office in Lagos, rather we want the government to ensure the payment of staff’s relocation allowances and other benefits accrued to them.
“Theunions will protest every avenue by some people in government to convert government properties to their personal assets.”
Also, ANAP’s General Secretary, Abdulrazaq Saidu, described the action of the minister in the past eight years as illegal.
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