The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has defended the decision to relocate its headquarters from Abuja to Lagos as directed by Minister of Aviation Festus Keyamo.
In a statement on Thursday, FAAN noted that its original base was in Lagos before what it described as ill advised decision to relocate its headquarters to Abuja. in
However, FAAN in a statement by Mrs Obiageli Orah, its Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, said the decision to move its headquaters back to Lagos was in its interest and the nation.
Orah said the statement was issued in response to inquiries on the directive of the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo, to return the FAAN to Lagos, where it operated for decades until recently.
FAAN said the decision was taken after wide consultations with stakeholders which included aviation unions.
She listed reasons for reverting to include lack of office spaces for those that initially moved to Abuja hence their return to Lagos.
She added that the returnee staff were drawing out station allowances because their postings were Abuja but they were working from Lagos thereby increasing revenue losses.
“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 Tour Allowance) because technically they are working out of station as their official posting is to Abuja.
“The Minister has decided to stop this 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 fact more than 60 per cent of its activities are in Lagos given the huge passenger volume of the Lagos airports.
“The stakeholders and the Minister decided against that and to save the country this waste,” she said.
Orah said the Minister had begun plans to get concessionaires to build befitting offices for the Authority in both Lagos and Abuja.
She explained that upon completion of the project, a final decision would be taken on the final location of the corporate headquarters.
She added that in the interim, FAAN will continue to manage its old buildings in Lagos which could accommodate all its Directors and senior officials.
“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.
“The Authority wishes to assure members of the public that it will continue to act in their best interest and that ofthe country.
“The Honourable Minister is committed to taking decisions that are in the best interest of the country, especially as it concerns public funds and will not yield to ethnic or sectional sentiments that will derail this commitment,” she said.