Unions in the aviation industry and hundreds of workers from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest against the recently appointed directors for the agency.
The unions were made up of the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Association of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and National Association of Airline Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).
NAN recalls that the Federal Government on Feb. 27 approved the appointment of five new Directors and one General Manager for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said in a statement that those appointed were Capt. Edem Oyo-Ita as Director of Air Transport Regulations; Mr Abbas Sanusi, Director, Human Resources and Administration; and Adamu Sani; Director of Finance and Accounts.
“Others are: Odunowo Tayyib Adetunji, Director of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards, Mr Ita Awak, Director of Airworthiness Standards, Lawrence Kwajok, General Manager, Air Navigational Standards,” he said.
Addressing the unionists and NCAA workers, the General Secretary of NUATE, Mr Olayinka Abioye, alleged that two out of the five directors appointed by the federal government do not possess the prerequisite qualifications to hold the offices they were assigned.
Abioye threatened that the unions would shut down the airports for one week over alleged imposition of untested and unqualified personnel as directors in NCAA unless government rescinded those appointments.
The NUATE general secretary alleged that the new Director of Finance and Accounts, Ms Bilikisu Adamu-Sani, was an educationist by training, while the Director of Airworthiness Standards, Mr Ita Awak, was a politician.
“We, the unions in the industry are not in support of a situation in which the federal government would recruit outsiders who will be shown the ropes to fill all technical positions in the agency.
“We have done a critical assessment of the newly appointed directors in NCAA and found that out of the five only three are qualified to hold the positions.
“I am aware that the newly appointed director of airworthiness standards has been a politician through and through.
“Airworthiness directorate should not be joked with for because it is a sensitive position except you want aircraft to be falling from the sky.
“The director of airworthiness standards is not suitably qualified; for 25 years he has never handled a spanner. He is not qualified and if you bring someone who is unqualified, aircraft will start falling out of the skies.
“Also, the director of finance and accounts has a degree in education. She is not an accountant; she is not a financial guru. Anyone occupying the position should be grounded in accounting.
“If you are making appointments to replace those you have sacked, it is very important to bring on board people who are better than the ones you have laid off,” he said.
Also speaking, the National President of ATSSSAN, Mr Ilitrus Ahmadu, said the recent appointments in the agency and transfers of personnel from one agency to NCAA had generated concerns among the stakeholders in the aviation.
“Certain interests are trying to hijack the process. If there are people who have been serving in acting capacity and you need to appoint substantive ones, why not give the people who are already in the system the opportunity to compete for the positions?
“I am not concerned about the person who handles what position in NCAA so long as that person is qualified.
“The system is being unfair to qualified personnel who can do this job. We have people who are qualified already in the system,” he said.