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Aviation: The truth about relocation of FAAN Headquarters to Lagos, by Minister 

*Festus Keyamo, SAN, Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development, asserts the recent relocation of the Head Office of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria from Abuja to Lagos has become necessary in line with ‘current economic and operational realities’ in the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, Honourable Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development, has explained how the Federal Government arrived at the decision to relocate the the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Headquarters from Abuja, FCT, to Lagos.

Keyamo, nonetheless, stated there is no going back on relocation of FAAN Head Office to Lagos.

The Minister, who stated this Wednesday, January 31, 2024, on a Channels TV programme, disclosed the rationale for the relocation was informed by the estimated cost benefit of saving about N500 million for the Federal Government in the aviation sector annually.

On how and when the government actually made the decision to effect the relocation of FAAN to Lagos State, the Minister disclosed the top FAAN officials and aviation unions earlier, had approached him that the Head Office of the authority be moved to Lagos for “operational efficiency”.

“We are going ahead. The directive has been given,” the Minister said.

It is recalled that Senator Ali Ndume from Borno South as well as some chieftains of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) and other northern groups had kicked against the moves by FAAN and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), insinuating that it was an attempt to marginalise the Northern part of the country.

Why FAAN relocation becomes necessary: Minister

In defending the Federal Government’s decision on the movement of FAAN Head Office to Lagos, however, Keyamo said the relocation had become necessary in line with current economic and operational realities.

According to him, the movement of the FAAN headquarters would, every year, save the government and the people of Nigeria half a billion Naira being wasted on air tickets by officials of the Authority who have had to commute from Lagos to Abuja and back.

As regards the official approval for relocation of FAAN to Lagos, and whether President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was aware of the decision or otherwise, the Minister unequivocally said: “I take the decision; it’s a decision under the purview of a minister.”

Only the headquarters of one of the seven aviation agencies in the country is being moved from Abuja to Lagos, stated he.

He equally noted that at the Senator Hadi Sirika predecessor, Hadi Sirika, his predecessor, moved the headquarters of all aviation agencies from Lagos to Abuja 2020, no adequate provision was made for the Principal Officers like the Directors of the aviation agencies and the Departments under them in Abuja.

Keyamo further said that the Headquarters is where the industry decision-makers meet, not where the largest number of workers are, and not where the biggest building is sited.

He also clarified that 100 of the 132 workers at the Head Office are in Lagos while only the Directors are in Abuja — without their support staffers!

The Minister as well averred that the topical issue was compounded with the fact that FAAN is not yet digitalised.

He disclosed that in a year, they spend half a billion Naira on flight tickets between Lagos and Abuja alone.

Keyamo added the clincher: “You see them (Directors) flying everyday to-and-fro Abuja to get one file signed.

“They fly everyday back and forth. In one year, they spent close to half a billion Naira on flight tickets. N450m on flight tickets alone.”

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