Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Threaten to Suspend Services over Shoddy Treatment By FAAN

For refusing to allow them access to their working place at the control tower of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) have threatened to suspend service over the alleged shoddy treatment by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The Controllers, under the aegis of the Nigeria Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA), have also called on the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, to urgently intervene and excoriated FAAN management for locking up the control tower where they stay and manage flight operations in the airspace because the controllers did not have the current On Duty Card (ODC) usually issued by FAAN.

Speaking on behalf of the Controllers, the President of NATCA, Mr. Abayomi Agoro, warned that a repeat of locking out Air Traffic Controllers or any other member of staff of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) by Aviation Security (AVSEC), a department in FAAN, may lead to industrial unrest.

AVSEC had on Wednesday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja locked out some Air Traffic Controllers and other members of NAMA staff for not being in possession of current On-Duty-Cards.

Apart from the ATCs, operational vehicles of NAMA were also barred from entering the restricted areas of the airport based on the alleged expiration of access permit.

This action led to flight delays, while some passengers were stranded for about three hours.

Agoro, said it was not the first time NAMA staff would be locked out of their workplace over ODC issue, but insisted that the renewal of the card lies with FAAN, which the agency had failed to do, alleging that no fewer than 20 NAMA workers were affected by the lockout on Wednesday.

Agoro explained that in a bid to forestall the embarrassments, it was necessary for the minister to intervene by setting up a committee and also urged FAAN to always consult its database for the capturing of its members for ODCs.

“FAAN has a responsibility to ensure that everyone has unhindered access to their workplace. The operational vehicles were denied access to the airport. This is not the first time that AVSEC will behave in such a manner with us, but we want to permanently stop it.

“We want the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development to intervene in this matter and tell FAAN to do the right thing.

“Anytime NAMA is asked to produce the names of its eligible staff by FAAN, FAAN should do it early and inform them of every stage of the process. FAAN has no right to deny people their ODCs and still deny them access to work.

“To forestall all these embarrassments or whatever, the ministry should set up a body to investigate FAAN and NAMA operations and their activities. FAAN has a responsibility to ensure that everyone has unhindered access to their workplace,” Agoro said.

Chinedu Eze