AIB-N staff groan over forceful relocation to Abuja without allowance

Some of the staff seen removing their belongings from Lagos office on Friday



Posted by Sade Williams


Few day after after the planned forceful eviction of staff of Accident Investigation Bureau –Nigeria (AIB-N) from their office at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos by the Ministry of Aviation, was reported, the staff were on Friday ordered to resume in their Abuja office on or before Monday, February 2022.

Investigations revealed that the Administrative Department of AIB-N on Wednesday issued an internal memo to all the staff of the bureau to resume in Abuja on or before Monday, threatening that anyone that fails to comply would be sanctioned.

As at Friday when The Travelport visited the agency, most of the staff of the bureau were seen outside the premises trying to move their personal and official belongings out of their offices.

Some of the staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to speak on the issue, lamented that they were only given two working days to comply with the directive.

One of them specifically wondered why the management would issue such a directive to the workers when relocation allowances had not been paid to any of the workers.

The source also decried that over 90 per cent of the workers were yet to collect January 2022 salaries and wondered where they would get the financial resources to relocate from.

The source further alleged that their in-house unions may have compromised as none of them was willing to discuss the issue with the management

Out of the 245 workers of AIB-N, no fewer than 100 of them are based in Lagos, which is the hub of aviation activities in Nigeria.

Just in 2021, Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation had approved the engagement of 70 staff to the bureau, mainly from the Northern part of the country.

The 70 staff were deployed to Aminu Kano International Airport (AKIA), Kano office of the bureau.

The source said: “We on Wednesday received a letter from the admin department, which directed us to move to Abuja without prior notice. We were given till Monday to relocate to Abuja even when we don’t have a befitting office there and nothing is being said about our accommodation. And as we stand, no one is talking about relocation allowances to the workers.

“Even, in the civil service rule, you can’t compel staff to relocate without the payment of relocation allowances. Staff are using their personal resources to relocate government property to Abuja.”

Also, Comrade Frances Akinjole, the Deputy General Secretary, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) in an interview said the unions were not aware of the relocation of the staff.

Also, Comrade Ocheme Aba, who confirmed the relocation order, however said that some senior staff of the bureau, especially those in the finance department had been paid relocation allowances since 2020, but refused to move.

Aba also confirmed that most of the staff were yet to get January salaries, but said that the Ministry of Aviation promised to pay them once they relocate to Abuja.

He said: “Information I gathered is that some of the staff have been paid relocation allowances for some period now, but refused to move to Abuja. As you are aware, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) last week sent a letter to the agency that they wanted to demolish the building for apron for the new terminal at the Lagos Airport.

“Because of this, the management now said everyone should relocate to Abuja. Though, they have not been given relocation allowances, but the ministry promised that all their outstanding would be paid to them once they move.”

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