Strike over hike in fuel Price: NLC threatens to shut down airports nationwide
..As FAAN promises seamless operations
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), led the Comrade Ayuba Wabba faction in collarboration with the National Union Air Transport Employees, the Academic Staff Union of University and other Civil Society Organisations on Wednesday threatened to shut down airports across the country in protest of the recent hike in premium motor spirit.
The NLC and its affiliate bodies during a protest in Lagos blocked the major entry road into the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA).
This resulted in heavy vehicular movement in and out of the Lagos airport while commuters and passengers groaned for the more than three hours the NlC held sway at the Arik round about leading to the airport.
The development forced majority of air passengers to trekk to the various terminals to board their planes.
The NLC and its affiliate bodies who were singing solidarity songs and carrying placards condemning the action of the government called for the reversal of the hike in petrol pump price from N145 to N86 per litre.
They vowed to block and occupy the airport until the federal government reverses the pump price of fuel to the former price of N86 per litre.
Meanwhile, the general manager, public affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Yakubu Dati has disclosed that flight went on as scheduled.
“As you can see, flights have commenced operation as early as scheduled and we have had morning flights early this morning from Lagos, Murtala Muhammed Airport, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja and other airports across the country.
So we have been doing our schedule operations across the country for all the airlines except of course where we have delays due to scarcity of aviation fuel, Jet A1, workers are out ensuring that the activities go on as schedule”, he said.
Responding to the threats by NLC and the civil society groups to shut down the airport, Dati said “ it is a free country but we of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria are committed in ensuring that we give the services that we are been pay for and that is why we are out to ensure that we continue with our operations and we also want to thank the security agencies who have ensured that the operations at the airports across the country are going on as scheduled and the staff are also turning up to ensure that they provide the service that we are been paid for.”
On whether staff of the agency will join the strike, Dati said that FAAN staff are aware that the agency does not get allocation from the government to pay salaries and as a result they are ready to come out enmasse to ensure that airports operate and provide services.
“The fact remains that, FAAN does not rely on revenue allocation from the Federal Government to pay salaries and our staff are well aware of that and that is why, they have come out enmasse to ensure that we operate because if we do not open our airports to operate and give services, we may not be able to raise the money that we need to pay ourselves for the work, so we have a responsibility if we want to get our money to ensure that we work and get paid for the services that we provide because we are service providers”, Dati stated.
He stated further that: “Well our message to passengers is that the airports are all open, we are all operating and our staff are already at their desks to ensure that we provide the services that we are paid for and we will continue to do so within our capacity”.