The President of the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Mr. Abdulrazaq Saidu has disclosed that the labour union may embark on protest against the alleged lopsided employment of workers into the aviation agencies.
According to him, the recent alleged employment of 130 staff into the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) from Katsina state is the major reason for the planned protest.
Saidu said labour was already meeting to decide which action to take, including paralysing the agency’s operations, to stop such unilateral employment that does not follow due process.
He noted that this has been going on in the aviation agencies for a long time, saying that the workers were imposed on the agency’s management by their supervisor, saying the management does not have any choice than to accept them.
The labour leader further stated that in the case of NAMA, the agency needs technical staff to manage the air traffic control and engineering departments, but most of these people employed do not have requisite qualification for that and they end up in the administration department of the agencies.
Saidu said, “If you go to any of the agencies like NAMA and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), five to six workers would stay at one table; yet the agency would be lacking technical staff to man the technical areas of the jobs they do.
“We have confronted this problem many times. There was one time such employment happened in FAAN and we hear they were doing training in Kaduna. We trailed them but there appeared there was nothing the management can do. That is the same thing happening to NAMA now.
“The same thing also happened to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). They will tell you that the directive came from powers above.
“The problem is that they are not employing people with the qualification that the agencies need and they are not following federal character. Some of them are not even trainable. For example, FAAN needs people in the area of security and fire departments, but those employed are not even qualified for such positions; so, they crowd administration department, where you have five to six persons on the same table. It is the same when you go to NAMA,” Saidu further alleged.
He said before a staff would be qualified to work in the air traffic control where the agency continuously needs personnel, the person must have studied geography, “but many of these people employed in the agency do not have such qualification.”
“They just use political fiat to employ people to into the agencies. These people are imposed on the Chief Executive Officers by their number one officer, their boss.
“After the exit of Dr Harold Demuren as the Director General of the Nigerian NCAA, we have not seen Chief Executives who insisted on professionalism like him.
“ANAP NAMA branch has held meetings over that recruitment, but it seems that whether we protest or not they will still impose those workers on the agencies. They will tell you that the directives came from Abuja. What will the agencies do? So we have to act,” Saidu said.
In reaction to this development, the Managing Director of NAMA, Captain Fola Akinkuotu said that the allegation was not true.
According to him, every recruitment in the agency followed due process, and there was no way the Minister would impose workers on the agency. He also remarked that every recruitment must get approval from the Federal Character Commission (FCC), which also monitors the recruitment to ensure that every part of the country is represented in the recruitment.
“When you want to recruit you notify the Federal Character Commission. FCC will approve the recruitment and supervise the process, including the interviews and make sure the right things are put in place. So, there is no way the Minister can impose people on the agency.
“I think because we are in a democracy a lot of things happen and you allow them to happen. That explains why people willingly distort facts to satisfy their group interest. So, these are issues with democracy,” Akinkuotu said.
But the President of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Mr. Abayomi Agoro, said that he did not know the total number of people employed from Katsina state, He however affirmed that he only knows that 16 were deployed to Air Traffic Control.