CHAIRMAN, House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji has appealed to airlines and private organizations within the aviation sector not to abandon their staff in this period of uncertainties occasioned by COVID19 pandemic.
He made this known in the wake of a memo being circulated by Max Air management to staff informing of their inability to remunerate them for the period the airlines sus[pended operations and some states would be on lockdown (two weeks).
Hon. Nnaji who represents Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency of Enugu State said he was disturbed by the memo issued to its staff by Max Air to the effect that it would not pay them salaries for the period of the two weeks lockdown directive by the Federal Government.
He noted that “the memo which has now gone viral further stressed that the state of no pay would extend if the situation persisted and my major worry is that other organizations may do same if care is not taken.”
Hon. Nnaji however appealed to the management of the airline to reconsider this hard line posture by retracing its action in this regard and equally urged other organizations in the sector to see this trying period as a time of sacrifice and show extreme compassion to their staff.
“Am aware that elsewhere, governments are providing palliatives for employers of labour to cushion the impact of this pandemic but because of our peculiar circumstances the Federal Government may not immediately offer such at the moment”.
Honourable Nnaji said he was optimistic that some form of relief would definitely come at the end of the day to assist the airlines.
He also urged the Hon Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sariki to step in and hold talks with the various stakeholders in the industry to avoid ripple effects of Max Air action.
The Committee Chairman also used the opportunity to call for understanding among the people and leaders of the South East Region over the aborted reopening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport (AIIA) Enugu before Easter as planned.
Hon. Nnaji lamented that the development was caused by the COVID19 pandemic which has forced the workers of both the contractor and consultants handling the project out of site.
The aviation committee chairman assured that as soon as the prevailing pandemic died down works would resume at an accelerated speed and new date of commissioning of the airport would be unveiled.
Hon. Nnaji equally praised the Governor of Enugu State Rt. Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the way and manner he has mobilized materials and human resources to curtail the spread of corona virus in Enugu.
He also urged the citizens of the state to cooperate with Enugu State government by sticking to the instruction given on Stay at home and social distancing.