Senate cannot stop demolition at Lagos airport, says FG
The Federal Government, yesterday, said the Senate cannot stop ongoing demolition of offices belonging to agencies carrying out aviation activities at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, gave the indication while briefing reporters on outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The disclosure followed a motion by the Senate directing the government to halt the demolition, to allow the Committee on Aviation, chaired by Biodun Olujimi, to intervene.
Olujimi had drawn the attention of the upper legislative chamber to the warning strike by the Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers.
But fielding a question on the matter, Sirika maintained that the Senate resolution is merely advisory and cannot stop government from doing its work.
He said the intent of government is to remove the structure housing the office of the managing director of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and commercial buildings.
He said: “It’s a structure that is made of wood and has been there for 40 years. It has caught fire twice, even during our administration. To give way for better development, given what Lagos has become, it is the gateway. We want to put hotels there, shopping malls, offices, cinemas and the rest, so that FAAN can make more money.
“Senate is advisory; it’s an executive function. We are not bound 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 the Supreme Court and won, and they had to give way for development. This is in national interest.”
Sirika added: “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 a responsible government. Where it will affect the lives of the people, of course, we are going to do it.”