The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB-N) has set the record straight on the demolition and relocation of its Lagos regional office to Abuja.
The bureau, an agency of the Federal Ministry of Aviation was reacting to reports in the media, with respect to the “…demolition of Lagos office buildings purportedly worth N5 billion…”.
A statement by the bureau’s general manager, public affairs, Tunji Oketunbi, said it is noteworthy to state that the published value of N5 billion being peddled in the media is highly exaggerated.
Giving clarifications on the issues raised by the publications, the statement clarified that the Federal Government in 2012 directed all agencies to relocate their respective headquarters to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The statement read in part: “By a letter dated 4th of May 2020, the Honourable Minister of Aviation in furtherance thereto, directed the AIB-N, along with other aviation agencies to relocate their headquarters from Lagos to Abuja.
“In line with the honourable minister’s directive, the bureau commenced a phased relocation implementation with the commissioner/ceo, directors and some members of staff relocating immediately to Abuja: whilst other members of staff relocation were scheduled to for implementation in phases due to accommodation and finance constraints.
“The relocation of the bureau from Lagos to Abuja was not precipitous, as claimed by media reports.”
It added that, without a doubt, AIB-N former Lagos office (former corporate headquarters) has since the ministerial relocation directive, served mostly as a regional administrative liaison office.
According to it, all its core operational functions/facilities in the discharge of its statutory mandate were positioned in Abuja; except for the command-and-control centre which just recently repositioned safely to Abuja.
The statement pointed out that the AIB-N’s Lagos office was inevitably earmarked for demolition due to its location which directly impacts some critical features necessary for the seamless operations of the just commissioned newly-constructed terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
“It is not lost on us that all land at the airport belongs to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and can be retrieved at any time for an overriding public interest, as in the present circumstances.
“AIB-N was allotted land space at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja to build its training school, which is 90 per cent completed and its proposed new corporate headquarters. Meanwhile, talks are ongoing with FAAN to have a suitable location in Lagos as its regional office.
The bureau currently has two regional offices – Kano and Enugu,” it added.
It further said the bureau has restructured its operations to fit into the current situation and continues to communicate with all its staff on the ongoing relocation, adding that all its safety investigators have been trained and are on standby to respond whenever their services are needed.
“This temporary reshuffling will not in any way affect our operations. AIB-N has invested so much in equipment and technology that will aid the delivery of its mandate seamlessly.
“This release serves to put things in perspective and to assure the general public of AIB-N’s preparedness to carry out its mandate and promote aviation safety as it has been doing,” it added.