By Sade Williams
There was confusion at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigerian ( FAAN) quarters on Thursday following the forceful eviction of some retirees of the authority who refused the quit their apartment.
A combined team of officials led by Nigerian Police, and FAAN personnel in security, administration, legal , operations ,environment, estate and stores departments stormed the official duty quarters in the early hours to remove the property of the recalcitrant retirees.
A source hinted that four policemen attached to the Airport Police Command were arrested and locked up by their superiors for participating in the exercise without ” official approval “.
The four policemen were reportedly locked up for taking firearms to the quarters without approval.
Their arrest followed lack of due process in participation in the exercise.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Airport Command, Joseph Alabi, promised to investigate the involvement of his colleagues .
But, Chairman of Aviation Parastatals Retirees , Chief Thadeus Obidike said the eviction of the retirees violated existing agreement between FAAN and its workers who are covered in the Monetisation Policy of government .
He said the matter is already in court saying FAAN acted in violation of existing discussions.
In a swift reaction, the Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs , FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu said the authority took the right steps to evict the retirees having served them series of notice to pack out of the duty quarters.
She said the six affected retirees were the first batch of former workers who have abused the privilege granted by the authority.
Yakubu said FAAN took the right steps to secure the “duty quarters” so that serving staff in essential operations department have accommodation to respond timely to emergencies.
She said if the previous occupants have not vacated the quarters, the serving staff will not have accommodation .
“FAAN evicted the retirees from the duty quarters because the affected persons have been paid their gratuity and other entitlement in the last one year .
“They have to vacate the duty quarters because FAAN has paid them and written several notices to them . They were even given an ultimatum, and they signed a letter of undertaking that they will move . But, as at yesterday they refused to move and we have to activate the evict order .
“The issue of FAAN harassing them does not arise , FAAN acted within the laws of the land. The apartments cannot be sold , they are duty houses for essential staff . Such people have to disabuse their minds from thinking that they can buy government houses”, she said.
She added that in the condition of service, the provisions made have been complied with, adding the affected retirees are just giving excuses, that does not hold any water.
“They should plan for retirement , it is lack of planning that leads to this type of embarrassment of holding on to government houses after retiring from service . If they donor leave how will serving staff have quarters to occupy . Duty houses are needed to run the airport system effectively.”
Investigations revealed that the six retirees have been paid their gratuities by FAAN, but refused to vacate the premises.
Meanwhile, some of the affected retirees had to make arrangement to evaluate their property out of the quarters.