Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Odua
By Ndubuisi Francis
The Federal Government has commenced a major shake-up in the aviation sector, culminating in the restructuring of some key parastatals, redeployment of personnel and outright retirement of some directors.
The long-expected shake-up, which was exclusively reported by THISDAY last month, was to have commenced a fortnight ago but it was delayed due to the controversy thrown up by aviation unions’ protests against Arik Air.
The shake-up affects top management staff in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET).
Sources close to the Ministry of Aviation told THISDAY yesterday that the ministry at the weekend had released letters to top directors and general managers either redeployed to sister agencies, or elevated to higher positions, as well as those being brought into the parasatals from outside. Letters for those either retired or sacked are expected to be released Tuesday.
In FAAN, the agencies directorates were increased from seven to nine, with seven of the directors to head the directorates being brought in as new recruits.
One of the managers, who was lucky to survive the shake-up, Hajiya Salamatu Eluwa, was promoted from her former position as General Manager, Training, to Director of Administration.
The Public Affairs Department of FAAN has also been split into two with the former General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Akin Olukunle, now heading the Protocol and Passages Unit, while one Yakubu Datti will head the newly created Communications Unit.
Also affected in the shake-up is the former Director of Engineering of FAAN, Mr. Saleh Dunoma, who is being redeployed to head the newly created Directorate of Projects.
THISDAY gathered that the Directorate of Legal Services, which had been phased out some years back, is being re-created with a new director appointed to head it.
At the NCAA, the Director of Airworthiness Standards, Patrick Ekunwe, as well as his counterpart in Aerodrome Standards, Haruna – both on contract – have been asked to go. Haruna will be replaced by Joyce Nkemakolam, while Mrs. Fatima Garbati is the new Director of Air Transport Regulation.
Some directors from NAMA, whose names could not be confirmed, were said to have also been redeployed to AIB, while others have been redeployed to NCAT.
President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the restructuring last month at a meeting with the Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Odua, and the heads of the five parastatals.
Odua had led the heads of the aviation parastatals, comprising NCAA Director General, Harold Demuren; NAMA Managing Director, Nnamdi Udoh; Managing Director of FAAN, George Uriesi; NCAT Rector, Capt. Chinyere Kalu; and Director General of NIMET, Anthony Anuforo, to the meeting with the president which held after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
The meeting decided to replace all substantive general managers in all the agencies who have occupied such positions for eight years, officials with tainted records, and those said to have been ‘smuggled’ into the system by former ministers and power brokers.
In addition, top officials of the agencies who might have by omission or commission caused their organisations avoidable losses through contracts or ‘loose’ concessions were slated for removal.
The Federal Government, in October last year, carried out a major shake-up in the aviation industry, with the removal of the chief executive officers of the three major aviation agencies in the country.
Those affected by the shake-up were Ibrahim Auyo (NAMA), Richard Aisuebeogun (FAAN) and Adebayo Araba, Rector/Chief Executive of NCAT.