Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has stated that the staff of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) spent about N1 billion on air tickets and duty tour allowance (DTA), shuttling between Abuja and Lagos last year.
The minister, who spoke on a programme on Channels TV, said that the relocation of the headquarters of the FAAN back to Lagos was made with due consultation.
He said, “When I was shown the book, I realised over N450m was spent on flight tickets for staff moving from Lagos to Abuja daily in a year.”
However, on Thursday morning, the minister, on his X page, said, “When I did my Channels TV interview yesterday, I had not been briefed as to the amount FAAN spent last year alone on DTA (Duty Tour Allowance) for the principal officers who travelled back and forth from Lagos to Abuja almost on a daily basis.
“The amount came up to N493,678,620.37. This is aside from the air tickets which I mentioned that amounted to N451,058,950.09. So, in total, because of the insistence on naming Abuja as the headquarters of FAAN (when there are no offices in Abuja to accommodate all the principal officers), FAAN spent close to N1 billion in one year!”
The minister further explained, “So, why do we make this decision? It is not as if I woke up one day and made the decision. The new management approached me with the facts and said this is our problem. I asked them what the problem was, and they said that some of the directors were here, but the support staff and the departments under those directors had no place to stay and were in Lagos.
“The implication is that daily, you know FAAN is customer service-based, and every day, the staff need to meet, make decisions, and all that. For these departments that are in Lagos whose directors are here in Abuja, you will see them (staff of those departments) flying every day from Lagos to Abuja and vice versa to get one simple signature or get one document approved for one small meeting or the other, and this is compounded by the fact that FAAN is not yet digitalized and that is what I met on the ground because they can’t yet exchange digital documents.
“So, they fly every day, back and forth. In one year, when they showed me the book, they spent close to half a billion naira on air tickets just for flights between Lagos and Abuja. They spent over N450m on flight tickets alone, and I shouted and said, what is this? The MD has an office here, but she would need four persons, and they would fly from Lagos to Abuja daily.”
Recall that the FAAN headquarters was in Lagos until the former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, ordered its relocation to Abuja in 2020.