Eight months after the regional headquarters of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, was demolished for a planned expansion of the apron wing of the new Chinese terminal, the expanse of land has remained empty.
Recall that the Ministry of Aviation had in February, through the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), given AIB four weeks to relocate its staff to Abuja to pave the way for the demolition.
The building was constructed in 2006 after the AIB was carved out of a department in the Ministry of Aviation.
Interesting observations: When Nairametrics visited the former AIB Office on Monday, we saw that weeds have taken over the entire land space.
Meanwhile, some artisans (including mechanics) have encroached on the former AIB land. We also observed that other properties close to the new terminal are still standing, despite being marked for demolition last year. These properties are still being used for business activities by private companies and government agencies like Dominion, Evergreen Apple Nigeria, Caverton, ExecuJet hangars, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Federal Road Service Corps (FRSC) and several towing companies.
One of the artisans who spoke with our correspondent, but declined to be named, said that since AIB relocated, no one has approached them on any planned demolition of the other structures within the premises.
The artisan expressed surprise at the demolition of AIB but said the government may still go ahead with its new plan for the land. He said:
- “Everyone was surprised when the AIB Office was demolished by the ministry. We had thought all of us would be consumed, but this is almost nine months after and we are still here.”
Demolition was inappropriate: Mr Olumide Ohunayo, the Director of Research at Zenith Travels, said the demolition of the AIB Office was wrong. He explained that the new international terminal was inappropriately sited and has put the sector in a dilemma.
- “The terminal is underutilized today. We cannot continue to progress concurrently in error. We need to allow some commercial sense and other important perspectives needed in the industry to take its course,” he said.
Reason for demolition: The government had argued that the demolition would enable it to expand the apron wing of the new Chinese terminal, which was commissioned on March 22, 2022, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The demolished regional headquarters of AIB had its office complex, Command & Control Centre, office of investigators and Information Communication Technology (ICT) department.
Others were the Training Centre and Mini Flight Safety Laboratory, used for downloading flight recorders, otherwise known as black boxes.
Most of the facilities at the AIB Office in Lagos were installed less than four years ago by the current management led by Engr. Akin Olateru.
FAAN had previously argued that AIB and other companies were obstructing the further expansion of the new terminal.