Barely 48 hours after one of the leading unions in the Nigerian aviation industry, the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) threatened to ground operations of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) over welfare issues, its Secretary-General, Comrade Abdulrazak Saidu, has alleged that his life has been threatened.
Saidu alleged that he received text messages from an unknown number, which vowed to “eliminate” him if he or the union didn’t back down on the threat to picket the agency over agitation of improved condition of service to the workers.
Speaking with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, on Wednesday, Saidu purported that he got a call from mobile phone number 08054969604 on Tuesday morning at about 7:30am while getting ready for the day’s work.
He said the caller specifically ordered him to stop the impending picketing of NiMET, slated for a yet undetermined date in August.
He alleged further that the same number sent a text a few minutes later, which read: ‘If you love yourself, be careful if not the violent change you are planning will consume you and all your co-travellers. Be warned.’
He showed the text message to available journalists with the phone number.
Saidu, however, said that on getting the text message, he responded as follows: "Continue with your threat. Allah shall take control because Allah owns my life."
His response, however, led to another text message from the number: "You don't know any Allah you hypocrite. Why didn't you pick my call? I am going to trace you out if you think you can threaten an organisation from where you feed every day unjustifiably. Nemesis will catch up with you very soon."
Saidu added that he was able to trace the possible owner of the phone through the truecaller device, which named ‘Jigah of NiMET’ as the owner of the phone.
He, however, said that he didn’t know anyone with that name in NiMET, even though there are several workers in the agency who bear the name as either first or surname.
He insisted that neither he or ANAP would succumb to any blackmail from any quarters in the pursuit of emancipation of injustice in the system, stressing that the union was only agitating for the welfare of those who were working for the overall development of the aviation industry and other sectors that relied on meteorological information for survival.
“I want to state categorically that I’m not undaunted and will not be deterred by any amount of threat or blackmail. I have notified the law enforcement agency and other security operatives about the ugly development," he said.
“The owner of the said GSM number should be held responsible for whatever happens to me and I am very convinced that he will be fished out by the security agents in no distant time.
“I want to reiterate here that all we are saying is that six months ultimatum will elapse in August and we want workers' welfare to be addressed. In an organisation where there is no condition of service, how can workers have sense of belonging? We have been requesting for meeting with the management since last year, but no response from them.”
When our correspondent contacted the Director-General of NiMET, Prof Sani Abubakar Mashi, he didn’t answer calls to his phone and didn't reply a text message.
It would be recalled that on Monday, ANAP had threatened to picket NiMET in August over poor conditions of servicand display of bias in recruitment of workers in the agency.
The union said it issued the management of NiMET six-month ultimatum, which elapses in August, to address the lopsidedness in the agency, but till date, the management was yet to address the issues identified by the union.
Saidu had said that ANAP had written a series of letters to the management of NiMET since the ultimatum was issued in February, but the management was yet to respond to any of them.