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Real reason FAAN headquarters was relocated to Lagos – Keyamo

 

Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, provided an explanation of his decision to sanction the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria’s move of its headquarters from the Federal Capital Territory to Lagos State on Wednesday.
Recently, Keyamo issued an order for the FAAN headquarters to be moved from Abuja to Lagos.

FAAN’s Managing Director, Olubunmi Kuku, instructed the agency’s Director of Human Resources and Administration to consider the ramifications of the transfer order in an internal document dated January 15, 2024.

In the memo, titled, “Relocation of FAAN Headquarters From Abuja to Lagos”, Kuku requested the implication of moving the operations of FAAN headquarters to Lagos.

The memo read, “The Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development has directed that the headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria should be relocated from Abuja to Lagos.

“Consequent upon the above, you are requested to provide the implication of the relocation to the management.”

But justifying the decision when he appeared on Channels TV’s Politics Today, Keyamo explained that the decision to move FAAN’s headquarters was not an isolated one.

He explained that having considered the logistics cost of FAAN staff flying from Lagos to Abuja daily to sign documents or attend meetings, top officials of the agency approached him and requested for the relocation of the agency’s headquarters.

“When I was shown the book, I realised over N450 million was spent on flight tickets for staff moving from Lagos to Abuja daily in a year,” he said.


The minister added, “So, why do we make this decision? It is not like I woke up one day and made the decision. The new management approached me with the facts and said this is our problem. I asked them what the problem was and they said that some of the directors were here but the support staff and the departments under those directors had no place to stay and were in Lagos.

“The implication is that daily, you know FAAN is customer service based, and every day, the staff need to meet, make decisions, and all that. For these departments that are in Lagos whose directors are here in Abuja, you will see them (staff of those departments) flying every day from Lagos to Abuja and vice versa to get one simple signature or get one document approved for one small meeting or the other, and this is compounded by the fact that FAAN is not yet digitalised and that is what I met on the ground because they can’t yet exchange digital documents.

“So, they fly every day back and forth. In one year, when they showed me the book, they spent close to half a billion naira on air tickets just for flights between Lagos and Abuja. They spent over N450 million naira on flight tickets alone and I shouted and said what is this? The MD has an office here but she would need four persons and they would fly from Lagos to Abuja daily.”

Giving a background on what led to the decision, the minister said, “Let me just give a bit of background to this so that Nigerians would understand clearly. It was in 2020 that my predecessor in office gave a directive that the headquarters should move from Lagos to Abuja. All the while, the headquarters had been in Lagos. But when that directive was given, I don’t know the reason why adequate provision was not made for all the principal officers who were supposed to move to Abuja, so there were no offices to accommodate the principal officers. By the principal officers – I mean the directors of the agencies and the department under those directors – all of these come to about 132 persons.

“Then, we had 10 directorates and I just created one more. And we now have general managers and deputy general managers under the directorates and we have other principal officers under those directorates. But people should not assume that the headquarters we are talking about means the place where the largest operations take place. It does not mean where the biggest building is, headquarters is where the decision makers sit and that is what headquarters means in any setup. It is not where the largest workers are.

“Back in 2020, they all came to Abuja and they had nowhere to stay – all the principal officers – no offices for them, and up till now, they have no offices. The decision-makers, when they came here, they had nowhere to stay and they stayed around for some time before they all went back to Lagos. So, this movement we are talking about, is that most of them are actually in Lagos. More than 100 of the 132 decision-makers are in Lagos. They are already in Lagos and not in Abuja.

“And when I asked them what do they want? they asked if they could all go back to Lagos. It was the top officials of FAAN who requested the relocation to Lagos. It wasn’t the decision of the minister but of course, the bulk stops on my table and I approved it but they made a request, including the unions. I decided that as a minister because those are among the administrative decision that falls within the purview of the minister.”

Meanwhile, it was learnt that FAAN as of December 2015 had a total staff strength of 5,308.
The number is split among technical, 1153, representing 21.72 per cent; non-technical, 4154 (78.26 per cent); and executive staff, 1 (0.02 per cent).

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