One-Man-Show, Hidden Agenda, Other Factors, Bane Of Nigeria’s Aviation Sector, Says NUATE

One-Man-Show, Hidden Agenda, Other Factors, Bane Of Nigeria’s Aviation Sector, Says NUATE

The President Of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Ben K. Nnabue has identified one-man-show in governance of Nigeria’s aviation sector and hidden agenda as part of factors responsible for current challenges faced by the industry.

In his May 2021 Worker’s Day Address, Nnabue said: “We have persistently pointed out the folly of one-man-show in the governance of the sector. As we all know, there being no governing boards for all the agencies in aviation, and the CEOs being direct employees of the Minister of Aviation, and the Minister being the Chairman of all the so called Interim Boards, the affairs of the entire aviation industry has been contrived to be totally in the hands of one man. This is extremely dangerous, preposterous and truly objectionable. All our protestations on the subject over the past years have fallen on deaf ears. That stakeholders in the industry have tolerated this circumstance for all of six years is quite honestly incomprehensible.

Whereas a State government, Akwa Ibom, has since successfully launched its own airline without any fanfare, which is fast becoming the industry leader, our Country has woefully failed in its attempt to birth a national carrier after over ten years of labour and colossal financial waste. The proposed aircraft leasing company, national aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility and aerotropolis development, all flagship programs of this federal administration, have all suffered paralysis, despite massive support from all stakeholders and informed Nigerians. They all followed the same path; bitten by the bug of hidden agenda, suffered the ailment of ill-motive to death, presently in the coffins of infidelity to the national cause, and waiting to be buried in the grave of onemanism. I enjoin all NUATE members to join hands in prayer for a better tomorrow for our dear nation’s aviation industry.

The case of selective airports concession is already well told. Our irreversible opposition to the unjustifiable program is based on unassailable evidence of unwholesomeness and is well documented. We call on the National assembly, the Federal Executive Council and the Presidency to work together to put a halt to the travesty called airports concession and save our dear Nation from further draining of the national treasury.

It is imperative that I use this medium to express our frustration over the unjust treatment meted to workers of aviation agencies by the Salaries and Wages Commission and the Head of Service. We have become tired of begging for our rights in respect of the stated issues of Conditions of Service and minimum wage which has been denied aviation workers for two years running. And we have lost our patience on the matter. Accordingly, all our branches in the agencies concerned should follow the example of NCAA and convene their respective JAC meetings for the purpose of mobilizing for industrial action, as several ultimatum on the matter have gone by without any result whatsoever. Actions will be ordered as from 17th of May, 2021.

It is truly regrettable that the Federal Government intervention fund for the aviation sector was shared among aviation companies with no impact on aviation workers. Till date, large numbers of aviation workers remain on furlough leave, many of them with no pay, while many others receive as low as 20% of their salaries. This is very disheartening. It is our plea that the Government takes another look at this unfortunate situation with a view to compelling urgent remedial actions on the part of the companies.

Relatedly, we find no justification whatsoever for the continuation of any kind of forced leave on the basis of the pandemic as business in the local aviation scene has now surpassed pre-covid levels. Those companies that have kept their workers away from work without pay while enjoying the current boom in air travel are guilty of plain wickedness and slave labour for utilizing fewer workers for higher volumes of work. We call on the regulatory authorities to urgently bring pressure to bear on this unbearable conditions to achieve some resolution, as we call on the managements of the culprit organizations to avail themselves of some conscience so as to revert to normal personnel deployment. We plead.

It is of vital importance to draw the attention of Government to the nexus between the large scale redundancies, leave without pay, salary cuts, etc and aviation security. This is against the background of current national insecurity. Therefore, it is our considered view that Government must tailor its financial intervention in the sector to mitigate these prevalent unsavory indices a vital point that ought to have been given prime consideration in the last intervention, but was inexplicably overrun by the urge to share. This, of course, speaks to the need for further interventions. We plead.

Comrades, as you all can see from all around the world and in our Country, the coronavirus is still with us. It definitely pays to be careful. Please obey all NCDC COVID-19 guidelines and have your family members do same. As at the moment, the only assurance of freedom from the virus is to take the vaccine. I enjoin all Comrades to do so urgently. It is indeed safe.

I am happy to welcome our new members from the Accidents Investigation Bureau (AIB) to the great family of NUATE. The addition of the AIB branch to our fold is very gratifying, considering the flagship role the Bureau plays in the Nigerian aviation scene. We look forward to offering the Branch every assistance to enable its officers outgrow the normal teething problems. The program of expansion shall continue vigorously, and all the airlines who still insist on keeping their workers captive by resisting the unionization of their workforce shall soon see the wrath of our Union.”


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Albinus Chiedu

Albinus Chiedu is a journalist, aviation media consultant, events management professional, and author. He has practiced journalism since 2000.

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