A worker in the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja who spoke on condition of anonymity has alleged extortion by the officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
The man, who spoke with SaharaReporters on Thursday, also alleged unfair treatment of private sector workers by FAAN officers, especially with regards to toll fare.
According to him, private sector workers with cars are made to pay fees before they can access the toll gate to their workplaces and offices at the airport, while the public sector workers are exempted from this.
He said not only public servants at the airport are exempted but also workers of other government agencies, security personnel, diplomatic missions, trade organisations and other multilateral organisations.
“Since the introduction of the Toll Plaza at the airport, FAAN in its drive for revenue made it mandatory for staff members accessing offices and workplaces to pay tolla. But in 2013, the public sector workers were exempted from paying.
“These government workers, once they have their Identity cards, they don't pay toll fee while the rest of us in the private sector are made to pay before we can access our workplace. It's not fair.
“Most worrisome was the 100 percent increment introduced for the Electronic Access Card early this year. In fact, a showdown looms at the airport because FAAN is not willing to accede to the demand of the private sector workers.
“We pay about N10, 000 to get a card to access the toll and last year's fee was not even exhausted due to the COVID-19. The sector suffered a huge setback last year. We resumed this year now and they have increased the fare by 100%. This means we have to pay N20, 000.
“What we want is for them to stop collecting the fee, why will we be asked to pay a toll fare to access our workplace.”
He said for some of the private sector workers, their companies cover for the cost of the electronic access card while some other employees pay for such from their salaries.”
According to him, airport workers in Lagos also experience the same fate as Abuja workers, especially as regards the inhumane treatment private sector workers receive when they don't pay the toll fees or even under certain conditions.
“FAAN personnel of Aviation Security unit and Operations department treats the private sector workers within the airport as if they are sub-human. They could easily withdraw the On-Duty-Card of a private sector worker on flimsy reasons and lock him or her up in an illegal cell called TANGO CITY. They don't treat public sector workers in such a manner.”
The source also said airport workers are issued On-Duty-Card, a card that enables workers to access restricted areas in the airport. According to him, it costs about N5, 000 to obtain the card for a year and is renewable annually.
He said On-Duty-Cards are obtained at no cost by some of the public sector organisations and other government agencies operating at the airport.
“It may interest you to know that it is this same On-Duty-Card that all these people present at the Toll Gate and they are granted access, whereas, the rest of us in the private sector do not enjoy such luxury.”
He said the Coalition of Aviation Private Sector Employees (CAPSE), has written to the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Abuja to address the issue before it results in some disruptions in flight operation at the airport.