The house of representatives has queried Rabiu Yadudu, the managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), over the dilapidated state of aviation facilities and the demolition of houses close to airports in Lagos.
Last week, 13 buildings in Ajao estate were demolished by the airport authority and the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) over alleged encroachment.
On Tuesday, FAAN warned property owners that illegal structures encroaching on aviation land will be demolished nationwide.
Speaking on the issue during a hearing on Wednesday, Charles Nnolim, chairman of the committee on aviation, raised concerns about the demolitions.
“Part of our concern is the demolition going on in Lagos. You know we speak for the people so whatever concerns people, affect us. That is why we decided to call you to find out what is going on in Lagos. We are not against any exercise but we really want to know what is going on there,” Nnolim said.
Nnolim also demanded answers from Yadudu over the dilapidated state of airports in the country.
He said the house is also concerned about “the current state of the airports”.
“Over a long period, we realised the escalators and lifts are not functioning,” he said.
“The air-conditioning system sometimes has leakages and the scanners have problems too. This is where (sic) we are here to find out why our airports are not functioning. If it is other countries, they may decide to close down the terminal buildings because of the condition.
“Also, people with disabilities are also complaining because they cannot even use the facilities. It is a problem”
Responding to the issues raised, Yadudu said the problems were being addressed.
“I believe it mostly revolves around Abuja airport. It is something we have seen and spent the past months trying to fix. But the lifts and escalators came with the airport and have been here for almost 40 years. So, they should have been replaced over time,” Yadudu said.
“Experts recommend the escalators and lifts be replaced. We started the process of replacing and it took us a lot of time because it is government’s due process and funding. Now, there is a contract out to replace all the lifts, and escalators in Abuja airport. It is a legacy problem.”
On the demolition, Yadudu said the authority had frequently engaged with residents of the communities located on the airport land about the dangers of staying there.
He said in 2006, FAAN had noticed encroachment on the airport land, and a committee was set up to investigate to ensure the people desist.
The agency’s MD also said announcements were made in the media warning people of the risk of purchasing land and building on restricted aviation land.
Yadudu said various committees set up by FAAN on the issue have always engaged the stakeholders and met severally with the residents of the estate to them of the danger of their actions.