Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah
By Ndubuisi Francis
A major shake-up in the aviation sector is imminent as the Federal Government explores various strategies to upgrade airport infrastructure to international standard and entrench global best practices in the operations and management of the aviation agencies.
The impending shake-up, which has already received presidential nod, will cut across the five major parastatals in the Ministry of Aviation-wincluding the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET).
In order to consummate the impending exercise, a source at the Presidency told THISDAY that the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, and the heads of the five parastatals met with President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting last Wednesday, where the president approved the shake-up.
Chieftains of the aviation parastatals, who accompanied Oduah to the meeting with the president were the NCAA Director General, Harold Demuren; NAMA Managing Director, Nnamdi Udoh; the Managing Director of FAAN, George Uriesi; NCAT Rector, Capt. Chinyere Kalu, and Director General of NIMET, Anthony Anuforo.
Although full details of the shake-up were not available at the time of filing this report, THISDAY gathered that all substantive general managers in all the agencies who have occupied such positions for eight years are to be eased out.
Also to be affected are officials with tainted records, and those said to have been ‘smuggled’ into the system by former ministers and power brokers.
Our source disclosed that some top officials of the agencies who may have by omission or commission caused their organisations avoidable losses through contracts or ‘loose’ concessions may be shoved aside.
In order to cut down on the recurrent expenses of some of the parastatals, some kind of rationalisation is also said to be in the cards in some of the agencies, particularly departments and units whose functions overlap.
The shake-up is expected to be carried out as soon as the minister returns from a trip to China later this week or next week..
The Federal Government had October last year carried out a major shake up in the aviation industry, with the removal of chief executive officers of the three major aviation agencies in the country.
They included Ibrahim Auyo of NAMA, Richard Aisuebeogun (FAAN), and Adebayo Araba, Rector/Chief Executive of NCAT.
Meanwhile, the Aviation Minister and some top ministry officials are billed to sign some agreements with Chinese officials in Beijing, China today to finance five new terminals at the five major airports in the country.
The airports include the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Port Harcourt Airport, and Enugu Airport.
Although details of the financing agreements are sketchy, THISDAY gathered that the loan for the financing of the terminals by the Chinese government is at very concessionary rate.