Barely a year after the Ministry of Aviation debunked the claim that it ordered the relocation of agencies’ headquarters to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, the Ministry has once again directed the parastatals to move their corporate headquarters to the capital city.
This is as professionals in the Nigerian aviation industry expressed divergent views about the relocation order of the ministry, but most said such directive would lead to total collapse of the agencies, arguing that 75 per cent of aviation activities happen in Lagos alone.
A letter dated May 4, 2020 with the reference number: FMA/PMD/7061/T/4 with the head: Relocation of Aviation Agencies’ Headquarters to Abuja, signed by Muhammad D. Shehu, Director, Human Resource Management on behalf of the ministry gave the agencies 45 days to relocate their headquarters to FCT.
The letter, which was made available to our correspondent, stated that the directive to move to Abuja had been on since 2012 and ordered the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the agencies to comply with immediately.
Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, argued in the letter that the relocation of the agencies’ headquarters out of Lagos would enhance efficiency and service delivery between the ministry and the agencies.
Agencies affected by this relocation order included the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The other two agencies were already outside Lagos. For instance, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) had always been in Abuja, while the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria has its head office in Kaduna State.
The letter read in part: “I am directed to remind you of the presidential directive issued in 2012 requesting agencies under the ministry to relocate their corporate headquarters to the Federal Capital Territory for efficient and effective coordination and enhanced service delivery between the ministry and its agencies and to note that, eight years after the directives, the agencies are yet to comply.
“Accordingly, considering the current situation and the economic impact worldwide, as well as the need to reduce the cost of governance and manage the scare resources in a sustainable way, it has become imperative and further to the Honourable Minister’s directives (copy attached) to request that you facilitate and complete the relocation exercise of your corporate headquarters to Abuja within the next 45 days, in line with earlier directives.”