Thursday, 7th December 2023

Workers request minister’s handover note, forensic audit of projects

By Wole Oyebade
05 May 2023   |   4:06 am
About three weeks into drawing the curtain on the current administration, aviation workers have urged the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to start preparing his handover note.

Aviation minister Hadi Sirika

About three weeks into drawing the curtain on the current administration, aviation workers have urged the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to start preparing his handover note.

The call was made on the heels of speculation that Sirika is on the list of ministers that might make a return in the next administration.

Aviation workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), acknowledged that the last eight years had been a mixed fortune for aviation, but the sector would be better off under a fresh handler, and new ideas.

Similarly, they urged the new administration to begin with a forensic audit of all projects recently executed in the aviation sector, especially for good transparency, going forward.

National President of NUATE, Ben Nnabue, said Sirika has earned his place in the annals of aviation in Nigeria, and would not be forgotten for the positive transformations he had brought into the sector.

Nnabue said that the footprints of the current administration were indelible in many largely positive transformations that have taken place in the agencies under the ministry.

For instance, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria has attained global excellence status awarded by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and the College has now been accredited by the Nigerian Board for Technical Education (NBTE), in addition to acquisition of Simulator aircraft for training of pilots, among many other fits.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has also grown in leaps and bounds in modernising its operations through significant acquisitions in radar, navigational aids, and air traffic control among others.

The Accidents Investigation Bureau, is not left out, transmuting from a unimodal accident investigation body for aviation alone to a multimodal body, extending its coverage to maritime and rail, and is now called the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB). It has also grown to be the prime accidents investigation body in Africa, and globally recognised for its meteoric rise.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has added brand new terminals to its fold, built new runways and repaired defective ones, tremendously improved airport lighting, and is positioning for greater heights.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) is another agency that has had a meteoric transformation. From the accuracy of its weather predictions, through the greatly improved means of availing its services, to the widening of its services and beneficiaries, particularly farmers, it is all tales of achievement.

“Through these octane developments in these agencies, the place of President Muhammadu Buhari and Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika, is safe and secure in the annals of the Nigerian aviation industry.

“But, it is ineluctable to advise the Hon. Minister to join other Ministers in preparing his handover note for the next administration to continue from where he has stopped. Governance is a continuum, and there is no wisdom in creating unnecessary bad weather in the industry at the twilight of his service through unneeded posturing over sundry unfinishable roadmap projects,” Nnabue said.

NUATE, specifically, urged the minister not to carry out his threat of demolishing the office complexes of FAAN, NAMA and NCAA in Lagos, to make way for an airport city.

Nnabue said: “I believe there is no time left for this administration to make an impact in that direction, and the excessive haste against time can only produce unpalatable outcomes.

“In the above regard, I wish to humbly urge the incoming government of Bola Ahmed Tinubu to carry out a forensic audit of the aviation road map projects, recast their general directions and re-present them for delivery.

“It is important to state that the roadmap projects are exceedingly vital to the growth of Nigerian aviation. Their delivery should, therefore, not be undermined. But we demand that the projects be remodeled to be of benefit to all stakeholders and to fit the needs of the industry and national interest,” Nnabue said.