The President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Mr. Abayomi Agoro has said that the Kaduna Airport does not have Control Tower while Sokoto Airport has a leaky Control Tower, a situation that has forced Air Traffic Controllers(ATCs) at the airport to use umbrella, whenever it rains .
This is just as he described the environment in which the ATCs work as deplorable and that there is no airport in the country where communication is working 80 per cent .
He said this when he granted an interview to the Executive of the League of Aviation and Airport Correspondents(LAAC), who paid NATCA a courtesy visit at its secretariat in Lagos.
The NATCA said that the challenges facing the ATCs are numerous, adding that the ATCs are still battling with terrestrial radio frequency and communication problems and that as an association that uses these equipment they have complained about it to the authorities , but that NATCA has not received any fruitful results.
“The working environment is becoming deplorable… As I am talking to you now, some airports do not even have functioning equipment. Even in Kaduna we are talking about, Kaduna does not have a control tower. What they are using there is a watch room (for fire fighters), which is not built for that purpose and 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 and what is it, some of the control towers attached to the terminal buildings some were ceded to FAAN, while those standing alone were with NAMA, but we have approached the two organization.
“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 and that is simply due to bureaucracy and you now discover controllers will continue to suffer.
“We are still battling with terrestrial radio frequency, communication here and there. Calabar is there; there is no airport you will go to today that you would say things are working 80 per cent,” Agoro said.
Speaking further Agoro said that the Control Tower in Calabar is in deplorable state and that the building is also dilapidated, urging the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency(NAMA) to make the equipment available to ATCs.
He wondered where the money generated by NAMA and the one allocated to the agency by the Federal Government are used for, adding that there are no chairs in some of the Control Towers.
According to him, “Calabar is a serious deplorable state, even though we heard the management is looking to put things in order. The main work there needs to be taken by NAMA because the equipment there is owned by NAMA. The only thing FAAN will do is the structural aspect, including the lifts. The building is becoming dilapidated… when we talk about the radio facilities and others, it is NAMA. NAMA needs to place emphasis on this critical equipment.”
He continued, “The Federal Government is allocating money, NAMA generates money, then let us know where the monies are going and most of the time if they read these stories they say we have come again, but 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? This year, I have met the NAMA management asking them about ordinary chairs we can’t have for controllers who will sit for 6-12 hours. Are you saying these persons will not have back pains and again these people have climbed the multitude of stairs because the elevators are not there or don’t work, it’s not ideal. Even when our members complain to us, we are in tears and we don’t know what to say.”