…Says ATCs are still working with bad, epileptic equipment
The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has thrown it weight behind the Federal Government’s efforts to sanitize the aviation industry of impunity and corrupt practices.
Just as they have also called on government to hasten the ongoing investigation of the agency and appointment of a substantive Managing Director or immediately appoint in acting capacity, a competent person equally qualified to be appointed as Managing Director
This they posited is in accordance with the provision of NAMA Establishment Act No.48 Part IV section 8 subsection 2(d) of 1999 (a person who possesses relevant and adequate professional qualifications in a senior management cadre and shall have been so qualified for a period of not less than fifteen years.).”
According to the union, the recent revelation from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s visit to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) revealed shocking transactions and is an attestation to the endemic nature of the unfortunate practice.
The statement signed by NATCA President, Victor Eyaru and the general Secretary, Olawode Banji read, “Due to the sensitivity and peculiarity of NAMA as an Air Navigation Service Provider, pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigations or appointment of a substantive Managing Director, the Federal government should immediately appoint, in acting capacity, a competent person equally qualified to be appointed as Managing Director in accordance with the provision of NAMA Establishment Act No.48 Part IV section 8 subsection 2(d) of 1999 (a person who possesses relevant and adequate professional qualifications in a senior management cadre and shall have been so qualified for a period of not less than fifteen years.).”
“This is to stem the ongoing leadership crisis due to appointment of two persons as Acting Managing Director within a week and in the interest of air safety. NAMA is a very strategic agency that should not be headed by anyone without both technical knowledge and proven administrative expertise in Air Navigation Service Provision (ANSP) under whatever circumstance to avoid any costly decision that could compromise air safety and spell disaster for the whole country;
“Ensure that all the siphoned monies by those involved and their cronies are recovered and returned to the coffers of NAMA. Thereafter, the guilty should be punished according to the law so as to serve as deterrent to others;
Extend such probe/investigation into some failed projects in NAMA like the Total VHF Coverage of Nigeria as well as other Aviation Agencies;
Rationalize all the agencies directorates, departments/units and staff strength to reflect the original intention of government for creating them and to reposition them for efficiency.”
The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers however said that despite NAMA’s claim to digitalise the airspace, they have continuously discharge their all -important and safety critical duties with epileptic equipment of which communication at the two Area Control Centers in Kano and Lagos is mostly affected.
”The nation’s radar equipment (TRACON), after close to ten years of its installation, has no backup to cater for period of failure. The existing radar equipment has almost outlived its designed lifespan and requires replacement. No navigational equipment is at its best as well.”
“Efforts of NATCA and its members to see to fixing of these problems over the years only earned the Air Traffic Controllers various attacks and name calling. Unfortunately, a lot of fund may have been allocated to fixing the unresolved challenges. “
The union also decried that management has deliberately deprived Air Traffic Controllers mandatory training since 2012 by continually arrogating such to lack of fund or approval
“This,” the statement read,” has reduced the capacity of the available Air Traffic Controllers to effectively provide various services such as the newly introduced 24-hour Area Radar Service and Performance Based Navigation (PBN).”
The union also flayed the duplication of directorates in the agency and appointment of cronies with no experience or expertise to fill sensitise areas.
“Another area of fraud urgently deserving the attention of government is in the duplication of departments/directorates and creation of irrelevant departments/offices across the agencies. Appointment of non-qualified persons to man sensitive positions has also encouraged fraud and reduced productivity. Most of the Agencies have over-bloated staff strength skewed towards the less productive departments.”
“An example is that of NAMA having seven directorates with eight directors as against the original three directorates. The same Agency, with Air Traffic Control service as its core function, has only about 11% of its employees being Air Traffic Controllers as against between 45 and 70% for other similar Air Navigation Service Providers globally. “