The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has revealed that that no airport in the country has up to 80% functioning equipment.
This was disclosed by the group’s President, Abayomi Agoro, in an exclusive interview.
He explained that the deplorable conditions in airport control towers around the nation’s airports, including Katsina, Kano, Sokoto and Calabar, among other aerodromes, had been of great concern to his group.
“Even the Kaduna airport does not have a control tower; what they are using there is a watch room (for firefighters) which is not built for that purpose.“
He said, “No airport in the country has up to 80% functioning equipment. These shocking realities, from the lack of a control tower at the Kaduna Airport, to lack of a urinary system at the Katsina control tower, and failed equipment in Kano… ATCs bear the brunt of the dilapidated system.
The working environment is becoming deplorable, as some airports do not even have functioning equipment. Even the Kaduna airport does not have a control tower; what they are using there is a watch room (for firefighters) which is not built for that purpose. We have been calling on the government to do something. We go to Sokoto, once it rains today, controllers will go to look for umbrellas to sit at the control tower.”
Agoro added that some of the control towers attached to the terminal buildings were ceded to FAAN, while those standing alone were with NAMA, and this seemed to bring more confusion about whose responsibility it was to repair those facilities. “We have approached the two organizations; just like the lift too, NAMA will be waiting for FAAN to put it in order… FAAN will say, ‘is it our staff that are working there.’“
Another operator in the industry, Ahmed Bello, said that answering nature’s call was impossible unless the ATC left the building, which would be a breach of professional ethics.
Bello said, “In addition, you mentioned Katsina. There, you have a one-man watch and there is no facility for him to go and ease himself. He is a human being… just to urinate; are we saying he is going to get a bottle? In Katsina no restroom was provided, nothing, we are not just making claims; all these are verifiable. These are facts that are there.”
Concerning Kano, he said, ”The facility inside unfortunately is a failure. We are not being emotional, we are angry because if the system demands I put my whole life into it, I expect the system to provide me the working tools to be able to do that.
I’ve not spent close to two years ab-initio in the training school for me to qualify as a professional for me to be frustrated by a system that does not want me to give my best.
Things are not okay. Our members are also telling us that we are not doing what is expected of us. Do you know that if you get to some control towers ordinary chairs to sit, we have to go and beg?”