The Federal Government’s decision to relocate the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headquarters and certain Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) divisions to Lagos State has sparked controversy that has yet to subside.

According to information obtained by ZINGTIE, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, is scheduled to convene in Abuja on Monday to adopt a firm stance on the controversial matter.

It may be recalled that Festus Keyamo, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, ordered the transfer of FAAN’s headquarters to Lagos in an internal memo signed by the organization’s Managing Director, Olubunmi Kuku.

Similarly, CBN has presented a decongestant action plan to improve its operational environment by relocating specific critical units to Lagos.

The Banking Supervision, Other Financial Institutions Supervision, Consumer Protection, Payment System Management, and Financial Policy Regulations departments are among the departments of the Apex Bank that moved to Lagos.

A broad spectrum of Northerners fiercely opposed the decision, claiming it was part of a scheme to underdevelop the area further.

Chief Senate Whip Ali Ndume was among the first to criticize it, claiming that it was driven by “political cartels” in the administration.

The Senator from Borno South, Mr Ndume, claimed that President Bola Tinubu is being misled into enacting unwise policies by the “cartels” using false counsel.

Mr Ndume warned that a political crisis would arise in the nation if the president did not undo the decision to move the two agencies to Lagos.

“They are not doing any favour to Mr President because this will have political consequences,” he stated.

Before the Senator made this claim, the Arewa Consultative Forum, or ACF, had denounced the relocation of the two government agencies, saying that the move would severely underdevelop the nation’s north.

Likewise, if the office relocations were not stopped, the Northern Senators Forum, NSF, threatened to sue the federal government.

The dispute spread to the southern area of the nation, where local organizations adopted contrasting stances.

The Middle Belt and Southern Leaders Forum convenes.

ZINGTIE learned on Sunday that the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, or SMBLF, is scheduled to convene in Abuja today, Monday, February 5, 2024, to discuss the issue.

Leaders from the Middle Belt, South-South, and Ohanaeze Ndigbo are slated to attend the conference and share a common stance on the ongoing crisis.

According to a person with knowledge of the conference who wishes to remain anonymous, leaders from the three geopolitical zones have resolved to discuss the issue and adopt a common stance.

“As you know, Nigeria doesn’t belong to just Yoruba and Northerners. We are all citizens of the country so our voices should also matter in the decision making.

“We are going to thoroughly talk about this matter and other pressing issues that bother national unity”, he said.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, or NNPCL, should move its headquarters to any of the states that produce oil, according to the source, who expressed concern about the actions of some Northern politicians.

Arewa Youths promise ferocious opposition to the projected relocation of FAAN and CBN.

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), a well-known youth movement in Northern Nigeria, responded to the relocation by promising to vehemently oppose any attempt to tamper with the original plan for the country’s capital.

The planned relocation “posed a significant threat” to Abuja’s standing as the capital city and might have detrimental effects on the country as a whole, according to AYCF President General Yerima Shettima, who spoke with DAILY POST.

Shettima highlighted that the FG’s move “risks undermining national unity, disrupting operations, causing economic setbacks, and perpetuating regional imbalances” in light of her fears about possible repercussions.

He said that Abuja was “chosen as the capital with deliberate intention to foster national unity and decentralise power.”

AYCF and its supporters will fiercely resist any agenda to relocate CBN, FAAN.

Shettima added that the Northern elite “must not be silent when the political and economic viability of Northern Nigeria is at stake” and voiced his unhappiness with the “complicit silence of the Northern elite regarding these provocations.”

Because of the “possible harm they may cause to Abuja’s status as the capital city and the nation as a whole,” the AYCF urged the relevant authorities to reevaluate the proposed relocations.

He asked those in charge to put the country’s unity first and ensure no steps were taken to worsen regional imbalances or jeopardise Northern Nigeria’s political and economic stability.

“We remain committed to our mission of promoting unity and development in Northern Nigeria and the nation as a whole.

“We will continue to advocate for the preservation of Abuja’s status as the capital city and to resist any attempts to undermine national unity”, Shettima added.

Southeast treated as conquered territory, relocate FAAN to Enugu – Ohanaeze chieftain to FG

Southeast faces structural and social injustice, according to chieftain and former Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide deputy national publicity secretary Chucks Ibegbu, who spoke with ZINGTIE.

According to him, “there is no federal presence in the Southeast. We are always treated as a conquered territory. The North and West are treating us as if we are conquered people.

“Southeast has the least number of states and local governments. What is wrong if the FG relocates at least one of the ministries or agencies to Enugu?

“Is Enugu, Aba, Umuahia not in Nigeria? They claimed that there is an international airport in Enugu, there is no evidence of an international airport in Enugu, only one restricted airline.

“The government should relocate the FAAN to Enugu, CBN to Aba. There is nothing wrong with that. We are also part of the country.

“The truth is that there is social, political and structural injustice against the Southeast.

“Some of our politicians here are only interested in their pockets; they don’t fight for their people and that is why the North and the West are taking advantage of us.

“North and the West have been rotating even the presidency within themselves as if those in the Southeast are onlookers. The truth about it is that we are not treated well in this country.”

Chucks, who lamented the hardship brought on by the removal of fuel subsidy, countered that Nigerians should direct their complaints towards more urgent problems facing the country.

“The problem with Nigerians is that they leave the substance and pursue shadow. The relocation of FAAN headquarters and parts of CBN to Lagos has nothing to do with food on our table.

“Since the fuel subsidy was removed many people have been dying but they are not talking about that”, he added.

Ohanaeze spokesman Alex Ogbonna declined to comment when contacted by ZINGTIE on Saturday, stating that Southeast would disclose its stance during the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum meeting on Monday.

He said, “I don’t want to preempt what they will be speaking during the meeting.

“By Monday morning, we will state our position on that and we will make our position known to the general public through a communique”.

There is nothing wrong with moving FAAN headquarters CBN units to Lagos – Afenifere.

The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation Afenifere has stated that moving the FAAN headquarters and CBN units to Lagos was in the best interests of Nigerians amidst the controversy over the FG’s move.

Jare Ajayi, the national publicity secretary for Afenifere, told DAILY POST that there was nothing incorrect with the FG’s decision.

He said, “To us in Afenifere, we don’t see anything wrong with it. The Federal Government has not done anything wrong by trying to relocate FAAN headquarters and CBN units to Lagos State.

“The relocation matter didn’t just start in Tinubu’s administration. It all started from Muhammadu Buhari’s regime but it was not completed. Tinubu should be commended for not abandoning projects that started from the previous administration.”

Individuals who are against the move, in his opinion, are individuals who are afraid to leave their comfortable surroundings in Abuja.

“It is not peculiar to Nigeria. If you go to South Africa, you will understand that the judiciary, the legislature and the executive are not in one location.

“It is not about who is in power, we want the administration to succeed so anything that will make the country work, we are ready to support it.

“If it was something that would harm the country, we would say it without considering whether the president is from our region or not. We will even be the first to condemn such a move”, he added.

On Wednesday, Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, stated that the decision to relocate FAAN’s headquarters to Lagos could not be reversed.

When Keyamo appeared on Channels TV, he addressed the matter by saying, “We are going ahead.” The directive has been given”.

The Minister said “the whole issue was compounded with the fact that FAAN is not yet digitised and so, in one year, they spend half a billion naira on a flight ticket between Lagos and Abuja alone.”

“You see them flying every day to-and-fro Abuja to get one file signed. They fly back and forth. In one year, they spent close to half a billion naira on flight tickets. N450m on flight tickets alone,” he said.

Please don’t forget to “Allow the notification” so you will be the first to get our gist when we publish it. 
Drop your comment in the section below, and don’t forget to share the post.