The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), in compliance with the directive of the Federal Government on Friday said it has since relocated its Corporate Headquarters to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Agency, as the regulator, was the first to comply with the directive as a way of encouraging others to follow suit, its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye said yesterday.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had in a memo dated 4th May, 2020 to all the agencies given an ultimatum of 45 days for the relocation.
Other agencies which hitherto had their headquarters in Lagos including the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) had also announced they have relocated to Abuja and advised that all correspondences be addressed to their Abuja office.
But Adurogboye in a statement expressed “regrets to all her customers, especially the general public, stakeholders and all those whom we serve for the inconvenience this relocation may have caused.”
“Be assured that we would do our best to serve you better in line with our mandate to ensure safer skies in Nigeria,” he added,
He explained that the NCAA’s relocation, which was swift and seamless, has seen all its top Management staffers including the Director General, Directors and other critical members of staff moved to Abuja.
According to him, the relocation was “to enhance and facilitate the seamless interface on critical policy issues between the Agency and the parent ministry, the Ministry of Aviation.”
The statement added, “There is no denying the fact that this exercise has come with the attendant challenges, especially to staff.
“The Authority has however been able to address the concerns in such a way that the relocation has been made seamless as possible.
“The general public is hereby enjoined to henceforth, address all correspondences to our Corporate Headquarters situated at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.”
The relocation of agencies came amidst misgivings from stakeholders who described the relocation as not only illogical in view of the fact that Lagos is the headquarter of aviation but ill-timed going by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
An Aviation analyst and CEO of Aglow Aviation Support Services, Tayo Ojuri said the relocation is “ill-timed due to the economic reality and prevailing exigencies caused by COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Due to the lull and reduction in the agency’s income, it’s not the appropriate time to embark on capital expenditure projects.
“Moreover, the agencies are grappling with payment of salaries and emoluments, how do they intend to pay the relocation allowances?
But another analytst, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, rtd, commended the Minister for taking the bold step to relocate the agencies, saying it is “long overdue.”
“There is nothing wrong and that is the practice globally. The US FAA, NTSB; UK CAA, and Airport Authority, Headquarters are located in their countries’ capitals, so are those of Ghana, SA, Egypt, Kenya and Rwanda. It’s been long overdue.
“I said so in 2006 that the movements of the CEOs to and from Abuja need to be curtailed. Most times they go to see the Minister or the NASS committees of Aviation, Finance and Budgets, Joint Security board, all these are in Abuja,” he said.
Daily Trust however learnt that some staff members who were expected to relocate to Abuja still remain in Lagos owing to interstate movement restriction.
More so, the aviation workers insist some of their members who are expected to relocate to Abuja would not do so until their allowances were fully paid.
The unions say according to the condition of service, each worker would be paid 30-day hotel accommodation allowance, flight tickets, among others.