…as unions set for massive protest over N27bn airline debt
Tanker drivers forcefully moved from the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway have once again relocated their operations to the Murtala Mohammed Airport, MMA, Lagos access road without regard for the safety and commercial implication of parking their heavy duty vehicles along the express.
This is just as unions in the Nigerian aviation industry are set for a massive protest against the massive airlines debts amounting N27billion to agencies and recent lop-sidedness in employment of personnel for the agencies.
Nigerianflightdeck observed for weeks now that fuel tankers and other articulated vehicles now parked indiscriminately on the both sides of airport along Ajao Estate Road.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the indiscriminate parking caused heavy traffic on the road while the three lanes road was reduced to one for motorists to ply.
Our team also observed that apart from the aviation fuel tankers, tankers of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also parked along the airport road.
FAAN had last August 2013 relocated the tanker drivers to a permanent site within the environment after years of causing havoc on the highways at the airport.
But, despite the relocation to a permanent site, the tanker drivers who hide under the guise of uplifting aviation fuel to airlines in the airport, line up their vehicles on the road and threatened to down tools whenever their action was challenged by the airport authorities.
Meanwhile on the planned protest, our reporter gathered yesterday that the unions; the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, and the Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, are currently mobilising their members in all the agencies for a protest, which would hold next Tuesday.
A source close to one of the unions told our correspondent that the impending protest would be held at the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA, Lagos.
The unions members would be drawn from all the major agencies in the sector. The agencies are the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
The source who is not officially authorised to speak on the issue told our correspondent that the unions decided to hold the protest at this point in time to press home to the government the challenges being faced by the agencies.
The source lamented that virtually all the domestic airlines are indebted to the agencies, which he said had prevented them from carrying out their responsibilities required by the Acts setting them up.
For instance, a particular airline was accused of being indebted to all the agencies, NAMA, FAAN and NCAA to the tune of N5 billion while the total debts owed FAAN was put at N22 billion.
Besides, the unions are said to also preparing to protest against the recent engagements in the agencies especially in FAAN and NCAA where thousands of workers had been employed in the past three years.
The unions claimed that the recruitments made by Aviation Ministers in the past three years were unacceptable to them, stressing that rather than young graduates, political appointees were appointed and given top positions, which they said was against growth of workers in the sector.
The source agreed that the government has the prerogative of transferring or redeploying staff to other agencies within the industry, but condemned, purported unscrupulous and unwholesome invasion of the agencies by personnel without aviation background.
The source said, “It may interest you to note that some of these elements being deployed for appointments into our industry are not fit and proper persons to have been so given the sort of positions and offices allotted to them as their incursions into the industry contravenes every element of the public service rules, the principles of the Federal Character and therefore negates the principles of due process and public service regulations on appointments, recruitments and promotions. All these shades of recruits violate extant rules of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”