From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
The Federal Government’s decision to merge three major agencies in aviation yesterday appeared to have provoked the ire of stakeholders who lampooned the FG’s action.
The government, on Monday, said it accepted the recommendation to scrap some agencies, it was contained in a Government White Paper by the Presidential Committee on the Restructuring and Rationalisation of Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies.
However, former Airport Commandant of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Group Captain John Ojikutu said, “Whoever advised government to merge NAMA and NIMET with NCAA must be from another planet”. The advisers, he told journalists, probably forgot to include FAAN in the appropriation to further take us back to the era of self-regulatory.
“Orosanye must have been wrongly briefed by some egg heads. How do you merge operators of the industry with the regulator? This merge completes what Oduah started – bring the industry under the jack boot of the government. Must the government drive the policy, regulate and operate the industry? We must be in a world of our own and out of the earth planet.” He queried.
Instead, Ojikutu said “we should get the private operators to invest more on the industry or commercialise government operators like FAAN and NAMA as recommended in the Privatisation and Commercialisation Act of 2000; government instead, is appropriating the industry to itself alone”.
The reason, he reiterated, is because government officials and political office holders cannot remove their eyes, mind and souls from the hidden or sleaze funds in these agencies.
Also, the General Secretary, Nigerian Aviation Professional Association (NAPA), Comrade Abdul Rasaq Sa’idu said the decision was received with shock because such step was taken in the past and it failed.
“It didn’t work by the former minister, Retired Air Marshal NsikaEduok, it was practised and it failed. Secondly the recommendation of Steve Oronsaye cannot work in aviation industry because Nigeria aviation is not a Nigeria aviation alone, aviation is global and it is been regulated by international body, ICAO, IATA and so on and if they do that Nigeria will loose Category One.”
For Captain Dele Ore, president of the Aviation Round Table, a think Tank group in the industry,
“What the government is planning to do is wrong, it will take us back to the 1995 era and whether we like it or not, I give them two years, they will return back again.”
“You don’t merge a regulatory body with a service provider, NAMA and NIMET are service providers, you cannot merge them with NCAA which is a regulatory body, this is at variance from international laws laid them by ICAO and other relevant international bodies.
“who are the experts that did the report, did they even give consideration to international convention and international best practices, those are the questions one would love to ask and whatever they do may be a big slap to our face”
He said the decision should be jettison otherwise they will be disgraced.
Also the Chairman, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), Ekanem Ekanem, in his own remark said the issue is not a question of merging NCAA, it ought to have being an autonomous body since NAMA provides the equipment to make the airspace safe. “Merging both agencies will make their administration very cumbersome. What the industry need is to optimise the operations of the agencies.”
He said “Nigeria is an emerging economy, we should be allow to grow at our own space.
Aviation is not where you carry out experiment because it is a global industry.”