The federal government has announced the relocation of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headquarters from Abuja to Lagos.
In a statement on Thursday, Obiageli Orah, director, public affairs and consumer protection of FAAN, said the directive was made by Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace development.
The agency said the directive followed wide consultations by the new management of FAAN with stakeholders, as well as unions.
Orah said it was agreed that the relocation was in the best interest of FAAN and the country for certain reasons.
“Those affected by the decision to move the headquarters to Abuja have since returned to Lagos as there is no office space for them in Abuja,” Orah said.
“It was ill-advised in the first place to move the headquarters to Abuja when there was no single FAAN building in Abuja to accommodate all of them at once.
“Having returned to Lagos, the Authority would be liable to pay them DTA (duty-free tour allowance) because technically they are working out of station as their official posting is to Abuja.”
‘DECISION NOT TO WASTE RESOURCES’
In the statement, FAAN said the minister made the decision to stop the waste of public resources and rip-off on the public purse.
“The other option open to the Authority was abandon the old FAAN building in Lagos to rot away and to use its scarce resources to rent an office space in Abuja for millions of naira of public money when in actual fact more than sixty percent of its activities are in Lagos given the huge passenger volume of the Lagos airports,” FAAN said.
“The stakeholders and the Minister decided against that and to save the country this waste.”
‘The minister has rolled out plans to get concessionaires to build befitting offices for the authority in Lagos and Abuja and until that is done, the Authority will continue to manage its old building in Lagos that can accommodate all its directors and senior officials for now.
“Abuja continues to have full operational offices and the authority has not scaled down operations in Abuja one bit.”
“It is just the technical decision of where the authority has its ‘corporate headquarters’ that has been taken without affecting the structure of operations as they are for now in both cities.”
“In the near future, when befitting corporate buildings have been built for the authority in both Lagos and Abuja, a final decision will be taken as to the location of the permanent headquarters, depending on the exigencies of the time.”
Last year, Hadi Sirika, the former minister of aviation, had said the office spaces occupied by FAAN, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in Lagos would be demolished for a more ambitious plan and the senate cannot stop the demolition.
Sirika said the aim was to turn the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, into an aerotropolis — but the plan was shelved.