Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE are at a loggerhead over what the latter has described as administrative recklessness over the non-payment of salaries of recalled workers in the agency as well as the interview of employment without approval of over 100 applicants.
This is just as the regulatory agency has reacted disclaiming the information credited to NUATE stating that 100 employees were interviewed in Abuja without ministerial approval instead also explaining that the irregularities were found in the employment of the recalled workers.
NUATE, last week accused the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman of going ahead to interviewing 100 new employees in the past two weeks in Abuja, with or without the required ministerial approval.
In a petition, which was sent to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Mrs. Binta Bello and made available to journalists in Lagos alleged that the workers who were employed in 2014, later suspended in December of the same year due to alleged irregularities in the employment, were recalled in April this year by the former Minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka. NUATE in the petition signed by its Ag. General Secretary, Comrade Olayinka Abioye said that despite the fact that the workers had be recalled, posted to different locations and offices, they were yet to receive salaries from the agency. NUATE further stated that the workers were recalled after concerted efforts and interventions from some quarters and the Federal Ministry of Aviation through its letter ref. FMA/NCAA.T.4555/S.6/T2/31, dated 27th April, 2015 directed that these individuals be recalled with immediate effect, which were immediately adhered to by the agency. The petition added, “On receipt of their letter of recall, and thereafter report to the Director of Human Recourses (NCAA) for further directives. It may interest you to know that having responded to their recall and resumed duties at their various posts, a ‘regularisation interview’ was conducted for these same Nigerians in June 2015, allegedly to correct and or regularise their employment. “We are however worried and concerned about the disposition of the NCAA management to the plight of these persons, several of whom had been coming/trekking to work on regular basis, dangling the identification of the NCAA on their necks with pride, but without hope of when their salaries shall be paid to them, or at what point their employment shall start counting whereas there were some of them who were twice lucky not to be counted among these group, but whose salaries had continued from the very beginning of their employment.
The Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman in his reaction to the reports said they were far from the truth stating that he sought and obtained ministerial approval for renewal of contracts for 45 Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) whose contracts had expired.
This was expedient to ensure the regulatory Authority was adequately staffed and well-armed to provide a robust safety oversight as statutorily required. In addition, this same ministerial approval was granted to DG’s request to proactively beef up staff strength in some critical areas in the Authority. These are Medical Assessors, Engineers, Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) and additional Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) – all totalling 33. Capt. Usman recalled that during Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recertification and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Audits part of the Open Items was prerequisite technical manpower. He said there is an impending ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) in November, 2015.The request and ministerial approval obtained is to ensure that Nigeria possesses adequate manpower to come out in flying colours again. The DG also clarified issues arising from the non – payment of salaries to the staff that have been recalled and the outstanding ones yet to be recalled. According to him, 113 applicants were employed before he assumed office. However, due to the impropriety of the employment the minister directed that they should be relieved of their appointments. After ceaseless agitations and representations the decision was rescinded and they were recalled. At the process of documentation, it was discovered that there were irregularities and proper procedure was not adhered to. The ministry therefore gave approval for a fresh interview for those who were not properly interviewed. After the exercise, those successful were recalled and have since commenced drawing salary from the authority. On the other hand, 47 others are yet to be regularised. The Authority is at the Federal Character Commission (FCC) for procedural confirmation. It is at the end of this that appointment letters will be issued to the candidates.