Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo has reversed the policy of his predecessor, Senator Hadi Sirika, on the relocation of aviation agencies to the nation’s capital in Abuja.
Keyamo has ordered the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to relocate its headquarters back to Lagos.
An internal memo issued by the Managing Director of FAAN, Mrs. Olubunmi Kuku, conveyed the directive of the Minister to the Director, Human Resources and Administration of the authority.
The memo dated 15th of January, 2024 read: “The Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development has directed that the Headquarters of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) should be relocated from Abuja to Lagos.
“Consequent upon the above, you are requested to provide the implication of the relocation to the management.”
Though there was a stiff opposition over the move, the directive was later complied with despite that none of the agencies had offices in Abuja.
Sirika had in a letter dated 4th May, 2020 FMA/PMD/7061/T/4 and signed by the then Director, Human Resource Management, Alhaji Mohammad Shehu argued that the relocation order was premised on the current global economic situation and the need to reduce cost of governance.
The letter captioned, “Relocation of Aviation Agencies to Abuja” read: “I am directed to remind you of a Presidential directive issued in 2012 requesting all the agencies under the Ministry of Aviation to relocate their corporate headquarters to the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) for efficient and effective coordination and enhanced service delivery and note that eight (8) years after the directive, the agencies are yet to comply.”
The agencies included the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), FAAN, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) which is now Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB).
The agencies complied at the time despite massive protest and opposition by the unions and stakeholders in the industry.
Recall that at the time, Sirika demolished the corporate headquarters of NSIB to expand the apron of the new terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.