The three major aviation unions, Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), yesterday dislodged Integrated Intelligent Imaging West Africa Limited (I-Cube) and seized control of the Murtala Muhammed Airport access gate, Lagos.
As early as 7am on Monday, February 3, the unions arrived at the access gates and ordered staff of I-cube to vacate the collection points. When Daily Sun arrived at the access gates, the unions had taken over and were already collecting fares from vehicles and issuing receipts. The leaders of three unions who spoke to Daily Sun said that they have been agitating for the management of FAAN to hand over the control of the revenue points back to the commercial department of the agency for a period of at least three months.
The deputy national president of ATSSAN, Sarah Rimdams, told Daily Sun that the unions had to forcefully take over the access gates because revenue accruing to FAAN was depleting.
“The contract FAAN had with the concessionaire expired on February 2019 and one year is enough for any reasonable company to ensure that either renewal or termination is tidied up. FAAN has more than enough staff to control the gates and they can generate more revenue that what the concessionaire was remitting,” Rimdams said. The General Secretary of ANAP, Abdulrazaq Saidu, said that the unions has had series of meetings with the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and the management of FAAN and were told that they (the unions) will take over the running of the access gates.
“Before the toll gate was given out to a concessionaire, we told the management that if any staff steals money, the person should be disciplined. But because they wanted to get money for their own people, they brought people to take over. After a while, the company was not remitting on time and it began to affect the day to day running of FAAN. We held meetings with the Minister of Aviation and the MD of FAAN and we told them point blank that we are going to take over this place.”
The chairman of FAAN branch of NUATE, Idowu Adeshola, said: “We noticed that for over one year, I-Cube hasn’t been transparent enough in terms of revenue collection and remittance back to FAAN. If we don’t have this revenue coming in, payment of salaries will be difficult.”
Reacting to the development, the manager of I-Cube, Leke Abajingi, denied allegations by the unions that they are behind on remittance. He told Daily Sun that while it is true that their contract expired in February 2019, they haven’t defaulted on their monthly remittance.
“We didn’t get the concession through the union, we got it through FAAN. There is a first right of refusal clause in our agreement on how to terminate the contract. It clearly states that FAAN has to discuss with us before any action is taken but we didn’t receive any notification by FAAN. We have an 11-year relationship with FAAN and our monthly remittance is up to date. We started remitting N40 million monthly but the amount was later increased to N68 million monthly. When the unions came, we reached out to FAAN to find out what was happening and they said they were not aware but that they will get back to us,” Abajingi said.
The General Manager corporate affairs of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, when contacted, said the unions acted unilaterally but that the management will meet with all stakeholders to resolve the issues.