Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika

About 21 senior officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria were on Wednesday sacked in a major shake-up.

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Those affected, including directors, general managers and deputy general managers, were reportedly handed their termination of appointment letters.

Sources at the head office of FAAN in Lagos told our correspondent that no fewer than 10 general managers were reportedly demoted. They were said to have earlier been improperly promoted.

It was learnt from an official of the Ministry of Aviation that the sacking was the first batch of the shake-up planned by the government to reposition FAAN.

Stakeholders said the Federal Government had been concerned about certain issues at FAAN such as the engagement of about 40 general managers, the creation of many directorates that brought about duplication of duties and raised the authority’s monthly overhead to an estimated N800m.

Sources said the government planned to reduce the number of workers by way of restructuring in order to cushion the effects of the current economic crisis.

Some of the general managers were said not to have the requisite qualifications for the sensitive positions they held, as many of them, including deputy general managers, had reportedly left the university about 10 years ago and could not have qualified for the office they held.

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Almost all the directors were said to have been affected, while an acting director of finance was said to have been demoted to Grade Level 10 and redeployed to the Department of Information Communications and Technology.

Many of the affected officers were moved from Grade Levels 17 and 16 down to 10, 12 and 14.

Some of the demoted workers were said to have received their letters, authorising them to report to their superiors, who were their subordinates before the exercise.

Meanwhile, new directors of finance and accounts, as well as commercial and business development, have been appointed.

The Federal Government is also reportedly planning to reduce the number of directorates in the aviation agencies as part of the restructuring exercise.

This, it was learnt, would affect the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.

The restructuring at the airports is said to be the fallout of a panel’s report headed by the Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, which recommended the need for a proper placement in FAAN.

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The NAMA may get a new managing director before December as its acting Managing Director, Emmanuel Anasi, is expected to proceed on terminal leave by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has said it will hold a public hearing with stakeholders to discuss the proposed concession of some airport terminals by the Federal Government.

The Chairman of the committee, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, stated this in Lagos during the oversight visit by the committee members to the aviation agencies on Wednesday.

He said the public hearing would give stakeholders the opportunity to make their input.

Onyejeocha said, “I do not believe in the concession of the four major airports that we have because I know those four airports are funding the other 18 international airports. And of course, you have to look at the issue of workers and the Nigerian people as a whole.

“We are going to conduct a public hearing where we will take all the issues together; where we will be able to ask Nigerians and of course the key players in the aviation industry, including the workers, and even journalists, to tell us what they think.”

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The 18-member delegation said it was in Lagos to see how the sector was faring amid the current economic recession.

Onyejeocha expressed disappointment at the slow pace of work at the new international terminal being constructed by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company.

According to her, with the current pace of work, the project may not be delivered by December as projected.

“We have three other terminals that we are hopeful will be delivered by December; so what it simply means is that Lagos is lagging behind and we will take it seriously,” she said.

The committee also visited the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, where the regulatory body was asked to do everything necessary to keep domestic carriers in business.

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