Furor over 500 million naira debt, disconnection of power supply at Kano airport

Flight operations across the country may be halted at any time from now following the threat of air traffic controllers (NATCA) at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, to extinguish the tools following the disconnection of power to Nigerian airspace facilities. Management Agency (NAMA) and staff accommodation at the airport.

Alhaji Gambo Aboki Abubakar, the Kano Airport Manager for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), had cut power to NAMA facilities and staff quarters last Friday due to debt allegedly 500 million naira by NAMA.

Abubakar claimed that all efforts to recover NAMA’s debt over the years had proved fruitless.

However, it was gathered that the disconnection of the power supply to the agency facilities received the approval of the FAAN Director General, Captain Rabiu Yadudu.

In response, the air traffic controllers’ umbrella body, the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), said its members at the airport could be forced to stage a protest at the airport at any time.

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A NATCA member who did not want his name mentioned, expressed concern about aviation safety and security in the country.

The source alleged that the airport manager showed enormous arrogance with the disconnection of power to NAMA’s navigational aids and its staff quarters.

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The source insisted that the N500 million claim was still in context as at the time the power supply was cut off by FAAN, claiming that FAAN outrageously billed NAMA for services provided to the agency.

The source said“Our staff and facilities were in total darkness. This is something that raises concerns, especially for the safety and security of staff. People are now in a horrible state and you expect them to give instructions.

“This is not the first time that FAAN has treated our staff so badly through their staff taking the laws into their own hands. They are a sister agency and if there are any issues you can ask the line ministry to intervene.

“We have done our best to appease our members so that they do not embark on a protest action. What they are also threatening to do is that since FAAN is the one collecting the landing and take off fees, we will not allow any aircraft to land or take off at the airport. FAAN will also lose revenue. They don’t know that we provide services for them.

“Overflights will continue, but there will be no landings or take-offs. Who authorized the airport manager to take this decision? This may cause national embarrassment for Nigeria. If the controller has a serious incident because of this breakdown, what do you think will happen to the image of the country? FAAN won’t allow you to use a generator, they claimed they would supply everything, yet people are not allowed to do their jobs. »

Stakeholder reaction

Comrade Olayinka Abioye, the former Secretary General of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) described the power cut as an act of irresponsibility by FAAN.

Abioye explained that as government agencies, the FAAN should have involved the Ministry of Aviation in the crisis before taking the laws into their own hands.

He called on FAAN management to restore power to NAMA’s navigational aids and its staff quarters, warning that if not soon nipped in the bud, the action could have serious consequences. implications for safety and security at the airport.

“Without ATC, can FAAN operate according to established rules? If there are issues like this, let the parties go to the department and the matter will be resolved as usual. I remember when they offered to pay for the office space, which was calculated in square meters, the ministry immediately put a stop to such a ridiculous request,” he said

FAAN confirmation and denial

However, FAAN said the disconnection of the power supply only affected NAMA staff quarters.

Ms. Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, Ag. Managing Director, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, in an interview with our correspondent, confirmed that the power supply to NAMA headquarters had been cut off, but denied the claim that the facilities of the agency had been affected by the action.

“It’s best to get the facts of any issues from both sides before jumping to conclusions. The disconnect only affected their staff quarters and not their operational facilities at the airport which facilitate aircraft movements in and out. Only the power line to the staff quarters was cut due to unpaid bills.

“The power line to the staff quarters is separate from that to the airport as this is a critical area for flight operations,” she says.

She insisted that the navigational aids are powered by solar energy, while FAAN has also provided a backup generator for NAMA at the airport to power its facilities.

Alan A. Seibert