The federal government on Monday evening fired four agency heads in the Nigerian aviation sector and immediately announced their replacements.
The agencies affected appeared to have been taken by surprise, as their helmsmen were in their offices when the hammer came down in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Sabiu Zakari, on behalf of the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika. A source, however, told SaharaReporters some of them might have received an authoritative warning last week.
At the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Emma Anasi, who had served in an acting capacity since March 2016, was replaced with the former Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Fola Akinkuotu.
Mr. Akinkuotu, before his appointment today, was the Managing Director of the troubled Aero Contractors.
At the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Anthony Anuforom, who recently completed a two-term tenure of 10 years, replaced with Sani Abubakar Mashi.
The Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Samuel Caulcrick, was replaced with the former Managing Director of the defunct Discovery Airways, Abdulsalam Mohammed. He is also an alumnus of the college.
At the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Felix Abali was removed as Commissioner and replaced with Akinola Olateru.
An engineer of international repute, Mr. Olateru is a trained Air Accident Manager and Certified Safety Officer with Aircraft Maintenance Engineering licenses in Nigeria, the United States and the United Kingdom.
A source close to the ministry confided in our correspondent today that some of the sacked CEOs may have been aware of the development as early as last Thursday.
A source who was privy to a meeting between Mr. Sirika and the CEOs in Abuja told our correspondent that Mr. Sirika succinctly told the CEOs that there might be some changes in the leadership of the agencies in the next few days.
According to the source, the minister said, “You people should be expecting some changes in the next couple of days. For instance, the tenure of NIMET DG has expired, while Anasi who has been in acting capacity in NAMA, has spent 35 years in service. So, any moment from now, expect some changes.”
It is notable that despite today’s changes, the Director-General of NCAA, Muhtar Usman, and the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma, were left in office.
The two officials, as well as those who were sacked today, were appointed by the then president, Goodluck Jonathan, in March 2014.