Dana Air crash site
The Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, has commended Air Traffic Controllers for their invaluable contribution in having stable safe air operations in the country and charged them to continue to remain dedicated to the service of the nation by discharging their duties effectively.
In her address at the 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM) and conference in Makurdi, Benue State, Oduah noted that the controllers had a great role to play in achieving the envisaged airport growth.
Oduah, who was represented by her technical adviser, Victor Oche, said the controllers played a very vital role in the last Dana Air crash in Lagos with directions in search and rescue during the exercise.
The management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) said at the conference that the welfare of the Air Traffic Controllers remained paramount in the establishment.
The Managing Director of NAMA, Nnamdi Udoh, explained that their plights regarding workload were being taken very seriously to ensure that all their working tools were provided.
Udoh who was represented by the Director of Air Traffic Safety Electronic Services, Ifeanyi Nwankwo, said the role of the controllers could not be ignored, adding that the agency was on course by training the controllers in spite of the huge financial commitment and ensuring that the automation of Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) would be completed by the end of this year.
Delivering his opening address, the chairman of the occasion, Bala Na Allah, a former deputy chairman House Committee on Aviation, said the aviation industry remained the most important industry for economic development.
Na Allah stressed the need for all parastatal chiefs to attend aviation conference organised by associations in the sector to brain storm on issues affecting the sector.
He stressed the need for government to always look into the condition of service for air traffic controllers describing them as hardworking and tireless people adding that the country’s airspace had continued to be dependable and safe.
In his welcome address, the outgoing president of NATCA, Haske Jibrin, called on the management of NAMA to upgrade and renew its communication, navigation and surveillance infrastructures and the urgent need to improve the funding of such equipment.
Jibrin, who also called for the implementation of enhanced professional allowances for controllers in NAMA, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), noted that since 2011 when NATCA demanded for the upward review of existing allowances nothing had come out from the management adding that the agreement provided a periodical review.
He commended the government for the intervention in the funding of TRACON project, Total VHF coverage project and the Aeronautical Information Management, calling for their completion before the end of the year.
The NATCA boss called on all airlines operating in the country to support safe and efficient air traffic services in the country by timely paying all applicable charges.Jibrin noted that NATCA, in the past five years, had agitated for more manpower and expressed delight over the engagement of new hands for the ATC in the last three years.
“While these steps will assist in meeting the vital and critical challenge of developing adequate human capacity in ATC, we call on NAMA management to change the practice of sponsoring ATC cadets on training at NCAT instead of direct recruitment,” Jubrin said.