The Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has described the recent strike in the aviation sector as against the law, vowing not to tolerate any more strikes and riots in the industry.
The federal government was reacting to the strike embarked upon by the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) staff members over salary increment issues that resulted in the grounding of flights at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), in Lagos state, on Monday.
NAHCO staff members, who provide ground handling (cargo/ramp), passenger, and other services to several international airlines, later suspended the industrial action.
Speaking to State House Correspondents on Wednesday, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the strike action was wrong and inhuman.
While stating that the FAAN act prohibits strikes and riots in the aviation sector, the Minister apologized to the public, stressing that the government would ensure that the law is enforced to prevent future occurrences.
Sirika said: “This is very important to the traveling public. First, we apologise to them, our teeming passengers, in this difficult moment.
“Secondly, this will not happen in the future by the grace of God. And the reason is simple; aviation is an essential service, the act has been assented to by Mr. President, so strikes and riots around our airports are prohibited by the laws of the land.
“Now that we have the act in place and assented to by Mr. President and passed by the National Assembly, we will deal with it according to the law.
“We will ensure no essential service is being disrupted by anybody, no matter how aggrieved. There are other channels of channeling issues when they arise, but they are not permitted to go on strike because aviation is an essential service and is the law of the land now.
“I will give you an example; there was an airline that had to return to base because it couldn’t land. Imagine if there was a patient on that aircraft. Imagine somebody attending to a very serious issue or matter at hand or business or a student trying to catch up with an exam, and then because of somebody who is aggrieved, some other person will die.
“Government will no longer allow that. So it’s in the law of the land, check the FAAN act, it’s been assented to, and it’s going to take place soon, in fact now, from today, we will not allow that.”
He stated that the federal government is always willing to follow laid down procedures in addressing grievances, but it would not permit any strike or protest anymore.
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