FOLLOWING the latest deployment embarked upon by the Ministry of Aviation, industry players have applauded and are of the opinion that the changes made is a non-issue especially as there are other important things that could grow the industry better and not personalities.
Recall that following the redeployment of the Director of Human Resources in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Hajia Salamatu Umar Elumah to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) by the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika in the recent reorganisation in the aviation industry there have been waves of suggestive media reports.
According to reports, Hajia Elumah who was posted to the Bureau as part of the reorganisation is resisting the posting and has petitioned the Presidency and opted to go on leave without pay.
Secretary of Aviation Round Table (ART) and former Command of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos said he was miffed by the controversy going on over trivial issues about deployment and promotion in the industry, which is a normal in civil service system.
“Why can’t we discuss issues about the airport certification and the NCAA reclassification? Why can’t we be discussing about airlines travails and the incursions of foreign airlines into our domestic routes? Why can’t we be discussing about the recurring debts of our airlines? Why can’t we situate the NCAA reported tickets scales earnings with the IATA revelation that air transport contributes over $8.2bn or N4.5trn to our GDP? These are issues for me and you and not the deployment or sacking of some individuals,” he said.
A stakeholder who spoke to newsmen over the issue was peeved that Mrs. Elumah could question and resist a normal deployment in the civil service and defied the Minister’s directive, employing all kinds of tactics to resist her deployment.
However, according to the source, Elumah had in a petition to the Presidency, kicked against the deployment and alleged that she was being victimized by the Minister who allegedly singled her out for denigration.
But industry observers and labour union officials have contrary view about Mrs. Elumah’s protest.
An official of Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) said the association was disappointed with Mrs. Elumah’s protest against her deployment, saying that it was normal process.
“She should follow the civil service rules or resign. This is not the first time that people were deployed. Even in the past she played roles in the sack and deployment of some staff and heaven did not fall.
“Mrs. Elumah has thrown her weight so much and she needs to be cut to size. If she is allowed to have her way now a bad precedence will be laid which in future will be deterrent to the industry,” said ATSSSAN official.
Also, some industry officials noted that similar reorganisation has just taken place in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and nobody is questioning government’s decision.
“So, despite her connections and powers, she should simply obey civil service rules because she cannot rewrite a system that has been there over the years, which she also benefited from,” a FAAN official said.
Sources from the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Sirika said that for the very first time in the industry the unions did not kick against the recent re-organisation in the industry because the Minister did the right thing by promoting those who needed to be promoted and who had put in years working for the agencies, “So it is round pegs that were put in the round holes.
According to the source, the Minster had decided not to comment on the controversy surrounding the deployment of Mrs. Elumah, “but he might talk when the right time comes.”