The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria is thrown into turmoil with a revaluation of work status and mass purge
By Uche Mbah
There was palpable fear during week at the Corporate Headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN at Murtala Muhammed Airport Ikeja. Members of staff were seen with long faces while some discussed in groups. Reason: At that time, a meeting was going on that seek to sack, demote and redeploy some staff. This was sequel to the recommendations by a Presidential Committee on the restructuring of the Aviation Agencies, chaired by the Head of Service, Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita. The committee was set up following complaints by aviation stakeholders on the bloated nature of the organizational structure of FAAN. They claimed that certain Directors do no deserve their positions and were awarded their positions based on pecuniary interests. This involves not only Directors but General Managers, some of whom, sources indicate, will end up being either demoted or redeployed. New placement levels have been perfected by the Rotimi Amaechi led Ministry of Transport in a move that analysts see as an opportunity for the current headship to get more amenable people to work with. But FAAN sources disclose that those already affected are individuals whose appointments do not follow civil service rules religiously. This set of people, the source hinted, will face demotion in line with their actual managerial value. Indications are that public hearing will follow later to determine other categories that will go. Evaluations have been done by officials of Federal Ministry of Transport following the Oyo-Ita panel recommendation.
FAAN, it was gathered, has the most bloated staff strength among Aviation Agencies. At the last count, the organization was said to boast of about 40 General Managers. During the tenure of Stella Oduah as Aviation Minister, she found it expedient to create more directorates and managers. The corporate affairs department, for example, was split into two, the Protocol department and the public affairs, each with a General Manager. This resulted in more staff recruitments, thereby shooting up overhead costs. Besides, over the years, many people were employed without the requisite credentials for the offices they occupy. This is apparently what the present exercise plans to correct. But invariably, as critics of the ministry tend to believe, the current officials of the ministry may only position their own people at the helm of affairs.
Although mum is the word from the committee which, this magazine learnt, worked into the wee hours of last Monday to beat its deadline, some few nuggets of information were gleaned. The Acting General Manager, Finance, was demoted from grade level 17, which is special grade, down to level 10. He was said to have been moved to the Information and Technology department, ICT. Besides, there are others in Management position that faced the same fate. This, analysts insist, is geared towards the frustration of some of the affected staff into resignation.
There is also a mass certificate sighting exercise, termed Operation Show Your Certificate. This has thrown up cases of fresh graduates that were employed between 2012 and 2013 and were given management positions without the requisite experience. This category of people will either be sacked or demoted.
By the end of the exercise, it is expected that the work force will be drastically reduced.