Stranded Airk passengers
By Chinedu Eze and Adibe Emenyeonu
Aviation labour unions: the Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) called off their action yesterday after the intervention of the leadership of the industry parastatals.
This is as the former Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie has frowned at the grounding of Arik Airlines by aviation unions believe to be acting on the instructions from the Ministry of Aviation and the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria.
Also, Senate Committee Chairman on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma has assured that they will soon resolve the issue between Arik Air and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and called on the two to meet immediately to resolve their differences in the interest of the country and travellers.
With the call off of the strike action it is expected that the Arik Air would call off the strike but THISDAY learnt that the nation’s biggest airline insisted that it would not resume operation until it was assured of the security and safety of its passengers, its crew and its aircraft, describing what the workers did a security breach.
“The workers did not inform us when the action was taken. It was a security breach so I don’t feel that the passengers will be safe.
We need to be assured of safety and security of passengers, our pilots and our aircraft. FAAN has to assure us and apologise. We have processes and procedures that FAAN should have followed to collect its money. This is putting the country in a bad light. We will wait and see until we are assured of the safety of our operation. And when this is done, we can start tomorrow,” said Arik Air senior official.
Jonathan Assures Investors on Economic Growth
President Goodluck Jonathan has assured investors in the country of his administration’s commitment and total support to reposition the nation’s economy, making it one of the leading economies of the world in the year 2020.
Jonathan spoke while declaring open the first edition of the 2012 Oil and Gas Trade and Investment Forum on Thursday at Onne, Rivers State.
He spoke through the Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF), Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. The President said the initiative is part of his administration’s transformation agenda anchored on the belief that the private sector is the engine of economic growth and prime mover of the economic reform process.
He explained that government had come up with policies, plans and programmes geared towards the reduction or outright elimination of bottlenecks to business and investment through harmonisation of Nigeria’s trade procedures and documentations, while providing investment friendly environment.
“As you are already aware, our gathering here today is to showcase the success of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone with a view to attracting Domestic and Foreign Direct Investment to all the Free Trade Zones in Nigeria and to enhance the role of private sector in driving the economy towards sustainable development, wealth and job creation”, he said.
The president also expressed confidence in the capability, imagination and commitment of the operators of the Free Trade Zones to achieve the desired goal of putting the country among the top twenty economies in the world by the year 2020.
“The support and sustainable partnership of the Private Sector is critical at this period so as to strengthen, deepen and sustain growth and economic transformation of this country. I challenge the other Free Trade Zones to leverage on the success of Onne with a view to understanding the vast benefits and opportunities in their zones and applying them to grow their businesses.”