Why Aviation Agency Boards May Not Be Inaugurated Soon
For over 10 years, federal government agencies in the aviation industry have been operating without Boards as provided for by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Law because Boards were never inaugurated.
This situation is not peculiar to the aviation industry and is likely to remain for a long time as the Ministers in charge of the various ministries, expectedly, appear comfortable with the situation based on the volume of freedom they enjoy as regards control of funds, subventions, agency personnel appointments, deployments and impositions.
For instance, Part 111 (7) of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act 2006 states: “The Board shall:
(a) fix terms and conditions of service, including remuneration of employees of the authority, in accordance with the provision of Salary and Wages Commission
(b) receive and review annual reports from the Management of the Authority and submit same to the President and the National Assembly through THE MINISTER not later than 30th June in each year. The report shall be on the activities of the Authority during the immediately preceding calendar year, and shall include a copy of the audited accounts of the Authority for that calendar year.
(c) submit not later than 30th September in each year to the Minister an estimate of the expenditure and income of the Authority for the next succeeding year; and
(d) cause to be kept, proper accounts of the Authority in respect of each year and proper records in relation thereto and shall cause the accounts to be audited not later than 6 months after the end of each year by auditors appointed from the list and in accordance with the guidelines supplied by the Auditor-General of the Federation.”
If the Boards of aviation agencies have been non-existent for over 10 years, it may mean that the responsibilities stated above have never been performed. This implies that the agency personnel that ought to be beneficiaries of section 7(a) have been neglected for so long. It implies that accountability along 30th June deadline and 30th September deadline has not been effective for over a decade.
If the above responsibilities have been carried out by someone somewhere other than the Board, it means that the laws have been violated and punishment for illegality is required.
Part VIII (28) (13) states: “The Authority shall furnish the Board with such information or facilities for obtaining information with respect to its activities AS THE MINISTER MAY FROM TIME TO TIME REQUIRE.”
In other words, where there is no Board, the Minister becomes the Board or plays the role of the Board.
Which Minister in Nigeria will not like such situation of immeasurable liberty? As a matter of fact, the Minister is very likely to pray daily that Boards are never constituted so that possible barriers to his liberty in toiling with funds and the entire sector is buried.
This is a huge assignment for the National Assembly. If Boards of agencies are no longer relevant, the provision for Boards in the constitution should be erased rather than leaving the constitution to assume their existence while in practice, opportunist appointees illegally feast on their responsibilities provided for by law and possibly manipulate funds.
Chiedualbinus.com appeals that the cloudy accountability regarding agencies’ funds management and processes be addressed as urgently as possible.