The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has petitioned the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, over acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Emma Anasi’s alleged plan to eliminate the Aeronautic Telecommunications department in the agency.

The union, in a petition dated December 21, 2016 and made available to our correspondent, also accused Mr. Anasi of diverting N11 million meant for training around 100 staff of the department at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, to other departments in order to shut down the department.

The petition, which was signed by the General Secretary of NUATE, Comrade Olayinka Abioye, insisted that the action of Mr. Anasi was detrimental to the safety of the nation’s airspace and contradictory to the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The union also accused Mr. Anasi of blackmail, intimidation, and harassment of the Directorate of Operations, which comprises the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), Aeronautical Telecommunications personnel and the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) personnel.

The union insisted that through his conduct, the acting Managing Director had diminished all gains made in the past 25 years in the agency and created a great lacuna in the operations and professionalism of these personnel, stressing that this had led to apathy and frustration of personnel within the Directorate.

NUATE also attributed the non-training of technical personnel in NAMA, especially Telecommunications staff, to the recent erratic, irregular and poor communications in some parts of the nation’s airspace industry, despite the huge funds allocated for these services in recent years.

The leading union, therefore, called for the immediate removal of Mr. Anasi as NAMA’s helmsman, saying that his continual stay in office may cause more calamities to the agency.

“Anasi has repeatedly been misinforming government officials and other esteemed staff that the Aeronautical Telecommunications department has been scrapped and does not exist anywhere in the world, which is far from the truth,” the union said in its petition.

“He has been canvassing for the conversion of some Aeronautical Telecommunications staff to reapply to another department, the Aeronautic Information Service (AIS), as he is hell-bent on exterminating members of staff of Communications and extinguishing the department, not for the greater good of Nigeria, but for selfish and self-centered reasons.

“It is also of note, sir, to inform you that Anasi has been at the forefront of massively misinforming and misrepresenting facts on the so-called and much-touted automation of AIS, a project that has been their route to siphoning money… That project is one of the most fraudulent projects in the history of NAMA, as it ought to have been completed since 2013, with all pomp and pageantry by the propagators, of which Anasi is chief. Where is the so-called AIS automation in 2016, one might be tempted to ask?” the petition queries.

On training, NUATE alleged that the current management has been paying lip service to training and routine retraining of the Aeronautic Telecommunications personnel.

The union insisted that the Directorate of Operations, under which the Aeronautical Telecommunications department operates, was given an approved budget of N44 million as a training fund to be shared by the three departments under it.

According to the petition, the Air Traffic Control department was allocated 50 percent, AIS 25 percent, and Aeronautic Telecommunications 25 percent. But the union regretted that the 25 percent accruable to the Telecommunications department, which was N11 million, was diverted to other departments.

“There are about 20 members of staff in the department waiting for such training, but the acting Managing Director and his fraudulent cohorts in NAMA have designed a new course called the Basic Aeronautical Information Management Officers (BAIMO) course for 60 staff of another department, and deploying the funds for Communications to the training of this illegal, unregistered and unknown training program.

“ICAO has a training manual, but we haven’t seen anything about the so-called BAIMO in the entire ICAO training manual. This singular action is a fraudulent act requiring investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and we may be compelled to draw its attention to NAMA on this matter and any other related matter should there be no change in our attitude,” the union said.

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