Contrary to popular claims, Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, says he, not President Bola Tinubu, approved the relocation of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headquarters from Abuja to Lagos.
He said the decision affects only one of the seven aviation agencies in the country, adding that the directive has been given and there’s no going back on it.
Keyamo said this on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday, January 31, 2024.
When asked if the president knew about the plan to relocate the agency’s headquarters, the minister said, “I take the decision; it’s a decision under the purview of a minister.”
He explained that when his predecessor, Hadi Sirika, moved the headquarters of all aviation agencies to Abuja in 2020, there were no adequate provisions for the principal officers like the directors and the departments under them.
Of the 132 workers at the headquarters, Keyamo said over 120 of them are in Lagos, while directors are in Abuja without their supporting staff members.
He said the relocation was necessary in line with current economic and operational realities and also because the operations of the agency have not yet been digitised.
This situation, he explained prompts officials of the agency to jump on planes every time from Abuja to Lagos just to get a file signed.
“You see them flying every day to-and-fro Abuja to get one file signed. They fly every day back and forth. In one year, they spent close to half a billion naira on flight tickets. ₦450m on flight tickets alone,” he said.
According to him, the relocation of the headquarters will save Nigeria half a billion naira wasted on air tickets by officials of the agency.