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UPDATE: Travellers stranded as Nigerian aviation unions activate 2-day warning strike

Murtala Muhammed International Airport Building, Lagos

*The Nigerian aviation workers Monday, April 17 activated their planned two-day total shutdown of all airports in the West African country, leaving several travellers stranded especially at the Lagos Airport, as the workers have maintained ‘though planes are allowed to land, such planes must be denied all offloading services. No take off at all’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The joint aviation unions in Nigeria began their announced two-day warning strike Monday, April 17, 2023.

The unions include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN); the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP).

Air travellers at Lagos Airport 

The aggrieved workers declared that local and international flights might be shut down in Nigeria Monday and Tuesday, insisting that there is no going back on the two-day warning strike declared to demand improved wages for workers in the sector.

ConsumerConnect had reported that the industry unions Thursday had declared the warning strike Monday and Tuesday, following the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum earlier issued to the Federal Government through Senator Hadi Sirika, Honourable Minister for Aviation.

The unions are also demanding, among others, that the planned demolition of aviation agencies’ headquarters in Lagos be halted.

It is recalled the unions and the Minister for aviation have been at loggerheads over his plan to demolish the Lagos offices of aviation agencies to build an Aerotropolis (Airport City). Sirika earlier, had stated there is no going back on the planned demolition while the unions noted there are no befitting offices in Abuja, FCT, for thousands of aviation agencies’ staff currently in Lagos.

The workers are also protesting against the non-implementation of minimum wage and other welfare demands in the aviation agencies,

The aviation workers as well as the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) in a joint statement issued and signed by Comrade Ocheme Aba (General Secretary of NUATE); Comrade Frances Akinjole (ATSSSAN); Comrade Abdulrazaq Saidu (ANAP) and Comrade Unoh Ofonime (NAAPE) said: “The ultimatum has since expired and nothing tangible has been yielded from our efforts and that of the Ministry of Aviation.”

It was also, gathered that the unions Saturday, April 15 notified all the airlines though what is called ‘No Notice to Airmen (NOTAM).

The NOTAM is the official communication issued by NAMA to inform the airlines of possible flight disruptions as the strike, according to the unions, is going to be total.

An airline official who spoke with Daily Trust Sunday also noted: “We don’t know what is going to happen, but we know shutting down for two days is not going to be funny. No NOTAM yet.”

The unions have ‘heavily mobilised members’ across the Nigerian airports to ensure total compliance with the directive on the warning strike.

In an internal notice to their members, the unions said: “You all can see that the die is cast. Our backs are to the wall, and we can no longer move back.

“We have to now charge forward. But we must do so in unison.

“We expect nothing less than total shutdown of all airports in Nigeria. No outward operations of any kind.

“Though planes are allowed to land, such planes must be denied all offloading services. No take off at all.”

The source further said: “The State Council Chairperson and his/her EXCO are in charge of activities at every airport, working under guidance of National Officers where available.”

Comrade Rasaq Saidu, General Secretary of ANAP, also stressed there is no going back on the strike.

Saidu disclosed no form of intervention from any quarters could stop the unions as they have exhausted all avenues of dialogue.

There was no comment from the Ministry yet as Dr. James Odaudu, Special Assistant (SA) on Public Affairs to the Minister for Aviation, did not respond to enquiry as of press time, report said.

Travellers stranded at Lagos Airport

Air travellers stranded at Lagos Airport

As earlier planned the aviation unions in the country commenced their two-day warning strike Monday, disrupting activities in the sector.

ConsumerConnect learnt the members of the unions blocked entrance to the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, in Lagos, leaving several passengers stranded in the process.

The strike was actually activated after the meeting convened by the leadership of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) ended in a stalemate.

The industry unions insisted on going ahead with the strike.

Capt. Musa Nuhu, Director-General of NCAA, called the meeting aimed at prevailing on the unions to shelve their two-day warning strike with representatives of the unions in attendance, according to report.

Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, was also present in the meeting Monday.

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