The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has reacted to stories making rounds that the President of Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), Mr. Benjamin Okewu whose secondment from the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria was illegal.
Head, Public Affairs, Accident Investigation Bureau, Tunji Oketunbi, who reacted chided National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) who wrote the petition for meddling in the internal affairs of AIB.
According to the AIB, NAAPE did not get their facts right in their petition stating that Okewu was not placed in an undeserved position as NAAPE had insinuated.
The statement read,”Our attention has been drawn to some media reports on the secondment of Mr Benjamin Okewu who is also the President of Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN) from the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria to Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB). The reports were based on a petition reportedly authored by National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) raising dusts over Mr. Okewu’s placement or ‘elevation’.”
“While we do not, as a policy, want to join issues with people, especially trade unions in the media, AIB management is constrained to respond to set the records straight. In the first instance, secondment is a normal exercise in the civil service. Mr Okewu was not placed in an undeserved position even as the management has not violated extant rules on secondment.”
“If the authors of the petition had done their home work, they would have realized that the salary structure of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria is different from that of the regular civil service. NCAT is part of the tertiary education salary structure where the highest grade level is CONTEDIS 15 for a director while the civil service salary structure, which AIB operates terminates at Grade Level 17 for a General Manager.”
“Besides, Mr Okewu was due for promotion as at January 2016. AIB cannot promote him but only asked him to cover the duties of the Head of Human Resources in acting capacity as AGM (GL 15 or CONTEDIS 13). Moving into Human Resources from planning background in addition to his immense experience in industrial relations is a plus for his new assignment.”
“ The management frowns at NAAPE meddling in the internal affairs of AIB and urge it to concentrate on working for the improvement of its members’ welfare. Trade unions should not fan embers of disunity but work for cohesion and team work in establishments where they are represented”
This only confirm the issues raise by NAAPE where germane. Where in the Civil Service Rules is that comparison showing how to place GL and CONTEDIS side by side. If Okweu was due for CONTEDIS 13 as at January 2016 and Secondment was done with letter from the Ministry of Transport on 10 May 2016, Seconding him (Mr. Okewu) on CONTEDIS 12, This only connote that he did not merit any promotion hence it was not given before his secondment from NCAT. But Management frown at his secondment advising the Commissioner (Leadership) to place Mr. Okewu on his level and in Planning Section in the Bureau. The Commissioner was even asked during the Management Meeting (FROM MINUTES OF THE MEETING) held on 14th May 2016 that what was his level in NCAT to this the Commissioner says he does not know, but he will call the Rector to elevate him (Mr. Okewu). YoU can see that the leadership and NOT the management as claimed by Head, Public Affairs, Accident Investigation Bureau, Tunji Oketunbi is taking unilateral decision. The Ministry of Transportation, Head of Service, Federal Civil Service Commission, Ministry of Establishment should look into this matter critically. Thank U