The President, Aviation Roundtable, Dr. Gabriel Olowo, says the decision of the Federal Government to relocate headquarters of aviation agencies to Abuja will erode the autonomy status of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
Olowo made this known in a statement in Lagos on Saturday.
He said the relocation of the headquarters to Abuja would cause undue nearness, given the place of influence of the agencies on the nation’s economy.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had ordered all aviation agencies to relocate their headquarters to Abuja within 45 days.
The minister’s directive was contained in a letter dated May 4, 2020 with reference FMA/PMD/7061/T/4 and signed on behalf of the Minister by the Director, Human Resource Management, Muhammad Shehu.
He, however, reminded the agencies that the order was given by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2012.
Currently, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Accident Investigation Bureau and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency have their headquarters in Lagos.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency has its headquarters in Abuja, while the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology has its headquarters in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Olowo expressed concern about how possible it would be for the workers to relocate during the COVID-19 pandemic following the interstate movement restrictions.
According to him, the strict timeline given aviation businesses will gradually gain speed post-COVID-19, probably at the third quarter of 2020.
He said in any case, the agencies’ heads had always been in Abuja, save for their empty seats in Lagos.
Olowo said the Federal Government’s policy statement had been there for a while, adding that he thought economic judgement had prevailed on their staying behind all this while.
He said: “Secondly, the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) being the highest revenue earner for FAAN and NAMA will suffer some administrative slack with the seat of direct control being away from Lagos.
“The decision of the Federal Government is like locating the bakery away from the production line and supply of flower.
“This is because direct and on-the-spot decision making by `numero uno’ becomes delegated resulting to unnecessary gaps with timelines.”