Senate can’t stop demolition work at Lagos Airport -FG
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said the Senate cannot stop the ongoing demolition of offices belonging to agencies doing aviation activities at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
Sirika stated this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa,Abuja.
The minister’s remark followed a motion by the Senate directing the government to halt the demolition to allow the Senate Committee on Aviation, chaired by Senator Biodun Olujimi, to intervene.
Olujimi had drawn the attention of the upper legislative chamber to the warning strike threatened by the Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, and National Association of Aircrafts Pilots and Engineers.
But responding to a question on the matter, Sirika maintained that the Senate resolution is merely advisory and cannot stop the government from doing its work.
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The Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, and National Association of Aircrafts Pilots and Engineers had threatened strike over the demolition.
Fielding question on the Senate stoppage of the demolition of FAAN buildings, Sirika, “First of all, let’s put it in perspective, the intent of government is to remove the structure housing the office of the managing director of FAAN and those commercial buildings.
“It’s a structure that is made of wood, it has been there for 40 years. It has caught fire twice even during our administration. To give way for better development for what Lagos has become, it is the gateway, we want to put hotels there, shopping malls, offices, cinemas and the rest of it so FAAN can make more money and the rest of it.
“And the entire people in that entire building they are like 150 or 200. Government is going to continue of course, Senate is advisory, it’s an executive function, we are not bind by any court of law and government cannot be stopped from giving development to its people.
“Just the other day, some houses were demolished by the Lagos government on our camp. We have been on that issue for some time, we went up to Supreme Court and won and they had to give way for development. This is in national interest.
There’s no individual that can drag it out with government. If I want to pull down this hall and build a better one, who is going to stop me as a government?
“So I think it is not an issue, they are just overheating it and you know why. But we have a responsibility and mandate, and we are not shy, we are very bold to do all those things that are good for our people. We are also very responsive and responsible government, where it will affect the lives of the people, of course we are going to do it.
“We have been known to do things that better civilization everywhere we go. So, this one also is going to make life very good.
I’m sure those people that are saying no to it, I’m sure they don’t want to continue to see Lagos airport the way it is.
“So, few individuals will not deny 250 million Nigerians from the joy of having something that they will go outside Nigeria to see. Common people will go outside and say “these leaders don’t they travel? See Dubai Big deal and now you want to give something like Dubai, and somebody is saying no. Common.”