The President of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Comrade Illitrus Ahmadu has said that the industry unions would ensure total mobilisation and payment of full allowances to staff in any of the agencies that is relocated out of their station to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja in the planned movement of aviation agencies by the Ministry of aviation.
Ahmadu told journalists in Lagos that the priority of any union was to protect the interest of its members, vowing that ATSSSAN would not fail to ensure this at any time.
He however said that ATSSSAN was not against the relocation order by Senator Hadi Sirika, the minister of Aviation, but said the staff welfare should not be taken for granted.
Ahmadu also stated that the unions would kick against the crippling of activities in Lagos by the government as a result of the relocation order.
“We will not accept a situation where you ask anyone to go without first paying him his relocation allowance and my advice is that you cannot relocate people out of Lagos to Abuja and cripple activities in Lagos.
“You should provide enough capital resources to continue to drive operations in Lagos while you move those few people to Abuja.”
Ahmadu, however, recalled that it was not the first time such directive would be issued to the agencies, saying that some of the agencies’ staff were relocated in 2012, but it was later halted.
“Basically, it is not saying everyone should move from their various formations to Abuja. It is just saying corporate headquarters. In our industry today, the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) spend about three to four days in Abuja. So, it makes no sense. The operational offices can stay wherever they are.
“The challenge is this, I know the agencies were allocated lands some time ago, but most of them are yet to build their corporate headquarters, while others are in the process.
“In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has presence in virtually all the states, but its headquarters is in Washington DC. They oversee the affairs of the industry from there.
“I don’t think the relocation will affected the running of the agencies, but we expect the CEOs to empower the offices at the regions or various formations so that those who are there will be able to perform their duties effectively. We want to see some level of authorities to the people at the regions and formations.