The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has protested against the alleged encroachment by the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) on the land of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the Maiduguri Airport, without approval.
A document dated April 3, 2018, addressed to the Managing Director of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, with reference number: NUATE.GS./MD.FAAN/ENP/0010-18, which was made available to SaharaReporters, alleged that the staff headquarters of FAAN had been taken over by Air Force personnel and permanent structures are now being built on it.
The petition, which was signed by Olayinka Abioye, NUATE General Secretary, and copied the Borno State Governor, Shehu of Borno, Borno State Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), NUATE President, Director of State Security Services (SSS), Minister of State for Aviation and Chief of Air Staff, Headquarters, purported that the action of the Air Force negated the recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) on safety and standards.
According to the document, which SaharaReporters exclusively obtained, the unfortunate development commenced on March 3, 2018, while all efforts to address the issue have proved abortive till date.
Presently, the Air Force has taken over the large expanse of FAAN land at the airport and built its permanent structure on the empty land, while attempts to checkmate their activities by FAAN management were said to have been rebuffed.
The ongoing construction by NAF has, however, blocked the only crash gate by the perimeter fence, which serves as an escape route, in the case of fire outbreak at the airport through the quarters. According to the aviation workers, this was contrary to the ICAO Annex 14 4.2.6.
The petition added: “Moreover, in an event of any safety audit by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to Maiduguri Airport, if eventually they discover some of the crash gates meant to reduce response time were permanently blocked, it’s not only going to be an embarrassment to Maiduguri Airport, but to the nation at large because it negates the standard and recommendation practices.
“Secondly, all the pipelines laid for channelling water from the airport to the quarters pass the same of way of concern; any attempt to build on the pipeline will affect the water supply to the quarter community.
“Most, if not all the electrical cables that transmit power from the airport to the quarters, were laid underground and passes through the same area of encroachment. If a structure is allowed to be erected on it, in the event of electrical fault, how do you rectify the problem?”
However, when our correspondent contacted a source at the Maiduguri Airport, the buildings, which probably was to serve as accommodation for Air Force personnel, had reached lintel level.
Also, further investigations by our correspondent revealed that the portion, where the Air Force is constructing its structure, was meant for cargo expansion of the airport as mapped out in the master plan.
However, efforts to speak with FAAN on the issue proved abortive as Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, could not be reached.