Information reaching the aviation sector at the weekend has indicated that the various aviation agencies have finally moved their headquarters to Abuja.
The relocation policy was mooted in 2008 by the then government through a directive contained in a letter circulated to the agencies directing them to relocate their head offices to Abuja.
The relocation order had then directed Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) to relocate to the federal capital territory for their operations.
The relocation order sparked criticisms amongst key players who argued that since almost 80 per cent of flight operations and major aviation activities take place in Lagos, that there was no point relocating the agencies to Abuja.
Stakeholders said that such relocation would lead to the collapse of civil aviation in Nigeria, arguing that 80 per cent of revenues and activities happen in Lagos and wondered why the government was planning to relocate the agencies even as they declared that the plan would fail.
While advising the government against the move which he argued would further drag the sector backward, Comrade Olayinka Abioye, the General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) argued that rather than expend energy and resources on such activity, that the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika should focus on improving the sector by providing infrastructure that would further ease movement of passengers into and out of the airports across the country.
Another school of thought had argued that relocation of the head offices and the required staff to Abuja was a wasteful exercise considering the huge fortune this will cost the agencies which up till now are struggling to carry out critical projects due to lack of financial capacity.
Some had welcomed the relocation policy on the premise that it will finally bring a great relief to the Chief Executive Officers of the various aviation agencies who have continued to suffered untold pressure of having to be summoned to Abuja by the subsequent ministers of aviations to make inputs or clarify issues at the shortest notices.
It has therefore been argued that the relocation of the agencies to Abuja will not only be a relief to the agencies’ CEOs, but allows them to remain more focus.
Efforts to relocate agencies’ head office in 2008 ran into trouble due to the economic meltdown which did not then exempt Nigeria and aviation sector.
However, information reaching the Tribune Aviation has indicated that the CEOs of the agencies with some administrative and critical staff had towards the end of 2018 moved to Abuja.
Some of the agencies are squatting with their sister agencies pending when they will get befitting head offices in Abuja.