Following Monday’s firing of agency heads in the aviation sector, the leader of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) on Tuesday called on the federal government to remove Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Director-General Muhtar Usman in continuation of its sanitization efforts.

Speaking with our correspondent at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, the NUATE Secretary-General, Comrade Olayinka Abioye, said the government must weed out more incompetent personnel in the agencies, especially at the levels of Directors and General Managers appointed into the system.

He accused the NCAA’s Usman of consistently abdicating his duties and of taking some steps capable of compromising safety in the system.

“The consensus is that the CEO of NCAA is more often out of office than in the office, and you cannot do this job by being out of office consistently, which is not good for the system,” Mr. Abioye stated.  

“Some airlines owe their staff for up to three months [salaries] and more, and the NCAA is pretending not to be aware of that. We have a situation in our hands where taxes and contributory pensions are being deducted and not remitted, and the NCAA cannot pretend to not be aware of all these things.”

He also drew attention to the issue of training at the agency, saying that while it used to be the bedrock of the NCAA, it has since been abandoned, with dangerous consequences.  

“You cannot expect an inspector, for instance, who has not acquired knowledge on an aircraft, to go and inspect it when he doesn’t have the knowledge.”

Mr. Abioye also described the right-placement exercise recently conducted at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as inconclusive.

He said that when the unions drew the attention of the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, to the non-implementation of the exercise in other agencies like the NCAA and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the minister ignored the unions.

The union leader alleged that some names were cleverly removed from the list the unions had presented to Mr. Sirika by some people in the agency, but without a response from the ministry.

“[Sirika] started the exercise of the right-placement in FAAN, which was abruptly stopped even when the unions raised the alarm over certain shoddiness in the exercise with the names of some of those people who were listed to be affected cleverly removed by certain individuals. There are several names that were removed from the list,” Mr. Abioye said.

With reference to yesterday’s removal of some aviation sector agency heads, Mr. Abioye described the government as being on the right track, but explained that some of the affected CEOs were already on their way out through age, while the Director-General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, Anthony Anuforom, was on the verge of completing his tenure.

Murtala Muhammed International Airport

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