By LAWANI MIKAIRU & DANIEL ETEGHE
The Supervising Aviation Minister, Dr Samuel Ortom has directed Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, fire department to re-absorb the retired fire servicemen who retired from the services of the agency to address the lack of manpower and human capacity building challenge raised by the Acting General Manager, Fire Service, FAAN, Mr Rindap Domtur.
The Minister gave this directives at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA, Lagos shortly after a tour/inspection of the ongoing remodeling exercise . Ortom, also said the ministry would take steps to address human capacity and upgrading of the department, adding that FAAN has been directed to employ more of the fire staff that had retired.
Acting General Manager, Fire Service, FAAN, Mr Rindap Domtur said the authority has a total of 600 fire staff across airport in the country and that the agency would require 1,500 personnel for effective performance.
Domtur also said the Murtala Muhammed Airport,MMA, Lagos, which is in Category 9 has 160 ,which according to him is far below what the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) approved for such category. He added that for the past two years none of the fire staff has gone for recurrency training to revalidate their certificate, adding that ICAO requires each staff to revalidate his licence every two years.
Speaking also at the inspection, FAAN Managing Director , Engr Saleh Dunoma confirmed that the major challenge that FAAN fire has is in the area of staff.
According to him, “ We will take due process to temporarily re-absorb some FAAN Fire Service retirees across the country to occupy some post. In aviation, we take issue of safety and security as priority .”
On the contractor in charge of cleaning the departure area, who the minister said was not cleaning the area properly ,the minister directed FAAN to ask the contractor to improve on the cleaning or else risk termination of the contract. The minister also said the Federal Government would not embark on new project in the aviation industry until the ongoing ones initiated by former Aviation Minister, Mrs Stella Oduah were completed.
Ortom assured that none of the ongoing projects in the sector would be abandoned, contrary to speculation in some quarters that the Aviation Ministry would abandoned the ongoing projects scattered across airports in the country most especially when about N174 billion has been expended on the projects.
He stated that what the Ministry would do is to prioritize the projects and that already some of the projects are about 70 to 80 per cent completed.
Ortom said that although some projects were recently suspended due to lack of fund, the contractors have resumed work since the Federal Government had signed the 2014 budget into law.
“We have to prioritise our work here, we have been operating through Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) and we will continue to operate with it. We have done a lot. During this cause of inspection, we have identified some works we have to tidy up. We intend not to go on any new project until we tidy up these ones,’’ he said.