The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) rose from a meeting it held in Ilorin, Kwara State Thursday with a call to the Federal Government to halt the rot in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), saying the situation could help to save the sector from another plane crash.
Experts have condemned the agency from living up to expectation in its oversight and regulatory functions with so many inactions that they say violate the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
For two years, the mandatory training of inspectors and other critical personnel has stopped. The only capital project for the agency is in training and retraining of its inspectors to ensure a well-regulated aviation industry.
But that seems to have taken flight, owing to alleged paucity of funds and the shift in policy by the management of the NCAA.
This is coming as the union said following the verification exercise carried out by government at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other aviation agencies, to determine proper structural balance in recruitment and placement of (certain political) appointees into positions in these agencies, demands full implementation of the committees report already approved by the Minister, to ensure proper staff placement, avoid current career disconnect, mistrust and correct the administrative incongruities caused by the irregular employment of these political jobbers.
The group called for embargo on recruitment of personnel on grade levels 10 and above at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as such exercise has become a drain pipe in the fortunes of the authority.
The union in a communique signed by General Secretary of NUATE, OlayinkaOluAbioye observed and frowns at what it described as “the deplorable state of affairs in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) whereby office infrastructures had decayed and become obsolete to the extent that pieces of furniture, working tools, including computers, photocopiers and accessories have taken flight in the NCAA.”
The group lamented that employees had to resort to the use of their personal laptops for official use, trek distances to photocopy documents at a grave security risk to the aviation house, where canteens facilities are lacking in other regions.
Aside this glaring unwholesome and pathetic situation, the union demanded urgent explanation from the management of the NCAA as to its failure and or inability to provide office accommodation to its employees at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
It disclosed that it was established that workers on duty each day had to rotate sitting in the available waiting office space, while some had to malinger around waiting for a chair or table to work.
“In consonance with the provisions as contained in the NCAA Conditions of Service therefore, the NEC-in-session hereby demands that Management must urgently set in motion the appropriate machinery to put in place within its four other regions, necessary infrastructures obtainable at its Headquarters, as these had been (budgetary) approved in all its budgets.”
“In tandem with extant Public Service Rules and best practices, the current irregularities in the career growth and staff development of employees in the Directorates of Operations and Licensing be corrected as graduate employees to exceed grade level 14 against the current practice.”
The group also condemn alleged illegal attempts by the Management to tamper with or vitiate the Conditions of Service recently reviewed and endorsed by parties. NEC therefore, enjoins Management to work with the Unions for its speedy approval.
Equally of concern to the union is the planned concession of four of the major airports in the country, calling on the government to halt the exercise to avoid industrial crisis that may arise, accusing the government for failing to carry along stakeholders on this germane matter.
The Minister of State for Aviation, HadiSirika had last week said the government had concluded plans to concession four of the aerodromes. The aerodromes are those in Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano.