There are strong indications that many top guns and other categories of staff of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) may soon be relieved of their jobs in the agency if the demands of aviation workers' unions are accepted by the Federal Government.

Tipped to be affected are three directors,  the Company Secretary, general manager, assistant general managers and lower cadre staff,  who are deemed to have been employed in dubious circumstances.

SaharaReporters gathered that staff who may be affected by the looming  purge have started reaching out to their godfathers in Abuja, including at the National Assembly, seeking their help in retaining the jobs they got through improper recruitment and placement exercise by the agency.

Three weeks ago, about 25 staff were sacked by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). The exercise claimed all but one director of the agency. Many general managers and deputy general managers were also sacked, with some demoted, in line with the recommendation of the four-man ministerial committee that carried out the staff audit in the agency.

Leading aviation industry union, the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), had, on 16 October, petitioned the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, to carry out a staff audit in NAMA.
The petition,  exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, showed that at least three directors, many other management staff and junior staff engaged by NAMA between 2012 and 2015 were found to have been irregularly recruited.

Signed by the union's General Secretary, Comrade Olayinka Abioye, the petition mentioned Mrs. Clara Aliche, Director of Finance (Staff No. 3258), as having been employed "without prior public service experience."

The Director, a native of Abia State,  was employed on  November 21, 2012.

Mrs. Adiche and three other top management staff are currently on suspension for involvement in the N6.5 billion fraud in the agency.  The case is still being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Also mentioned as having benefited from irregular recruitment is Mr. Akangson Ekerete ( Staff No.3243), the Director of Human Resources. Born on  June 24, ,1969, the Akwa Ibom State indigene was employed on September 30, 2012,  without prior public service experience and with a doctorate he claimed to have obtained before the awarding institution was established. Equally employed without prior public service experience was Oki Paul (Staff No. 3241), the Company Secretary, who hails from Delta State and was born on October 3 1971.                    

 Saleh Ibrahim (Staff No. 3640), Director of Administration, is on Grade Level 17. The 57-year old indigene of Sokoto State was employed on  May 2, 2013. His last employment was as Assistant Director at Shippers' Council. 

Below the director cadre, the petition pointed out, is a slew of management staff recruited inappropriately. These include Mr. Kuku Oluwaseun (Staff No. 3512), the General Manager in the Managing Director's office. The Grade Level 17 officer, an indigene of Ogun State, who was born on May 10, 1979 and employed on January 2, 2013.        

The case of Gbem Anastasia, Legal Adviser (Staff No.3264), is curious. According to the petition, she was initially engaged by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and was retired from service before being re-absorbed into NAMA through the Ministry of Aviation Committee. She was placed on Grade Level 17, her salary at NCAA, which was higher than what she would have earned as a director in NAMA.                             

Mr. Iroabueke Obiefule (Staff No. 3263) is another. The Abia State-born Assistant General Manager is on Grade Level 15. Born on October 30,1984, she was engaged on 16 October. She was said to have been placed above entry level despite having no prior public service experience.

Yet another curious case is that of  Aliyu Yahya, an Assistant General Manager of Grade Level 15 and staff number 3485. The 43-year old indigene of Kaduna State, was said to have retired from the defunct National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) and had already been paid his retirement benefits.  Okoro Arukwe (Staff No.2650) is an Assistant General Manager on Grade Level 15. He was engaged by NAMA on  December 6, 2013, and placed above normal entry level despite arriving without prior public service experience.                                                        

In  the same boat is Onah Uchenna (Staff No. 3230), a  Grade Level 14 officer in the Commercial Department. The 50-year old Enugu indigene was placed above entry level despite lacking previous public service experience. It is the same with Opaluwa Aduku (Staff No. 3609), who is on  Grade Level 14. The 51-year old Kogi State indigene was employed on  January 2, 2013 and placed above normal entry level despite never working in the public service before being engaged by NAMA. Others include Nwabueze Williams (Staff No. 3695 and Grade Level 13),  Inyang Ellen, ( Staff No. 3246 and  Grade Level 12),  Onabe Stephen (Staff No. 3332 and GL 12), Ukpai Robert (Grade Level 12 officer with Staff No. 3775), Ogisi Joyce (Grade Level 10 with Staff No. 3245) Agha Chinyere ( Grade Level 10 with Staff No. 3237), Okoro Chukwudi (Grade Level 10 with Staff No.3242) and Arisa Chinwe (Staff No. 3248 on Grade Level 10). 

The list also includes other Levels 10 and 9 officers irregularly employed across various departments.

In all, according to NUATE, 29 staff members were improperly employed and without prior public service experience among other irregularities.
But since the union sent out the names to the Ministry of Transport, the affected staff have been making robust moves to ensure that the recruitment anomalies are not corrected.

“In fact, some of them personally came to Abuja and immediately contacted their sponsors even in the National Assembly. Some of our directors in the ministry, who were not aware of the petition from the union have been called upon and are desperate to know those whose names have been penciled down for demotion or sack,” a ministry source told SaharaReporters.

NAMA Air console

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