A few days after the sack of the former Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday sent the name of a nominee to the Senate as a possible replacement.
Jonathan, who was seeking the Senate's confirmation for the new nominee, urged senators to treat the nomination of Captain Fola Akinkuotu as Demuren's successor with dispatch.
He added that the sack of Demuren was in accordance with Section 8 (3) (a) and (c) of the Civil Aviation Act 2006.
He also said the action was part of the recent moves by the Federal Government to restructure the aviation industry.
In a letter addressed to the Senate President, David Mark, and read on the floor of the chamber, Jonathan said Akinkuotu was nominated in observance of Section 8(1) of the Act.
The letter read in part: "Following concerns expressed by aviation stakeholders on perceived poor Internal Audit and Quality Assurance within NCAA, the Federal Government is in the process of restructuring the authority for better and more efficient service delivery.
"Consequently, Dr. Harold Olusegun Demuren has been relieved of his appointment as the Director General of the NCAA in line with provisions of Section 8 (3) (a) and (c) of the Civil Aviation Act of 2006. In line with Section (8) (1) of the Civil Aviation Act of 2006, I hereby present the nomination of Captain Fola Akinkuotu, from the same geo-political zone as Demuren as Director General of NCAA for the confirmation of the Senate.
"His Curriculum Vitae is attached. It is my hope that the distinguished senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will consider and confirm the nominee in your usual expeditious manner."
Akinkuotu who is presently the Rector of International Aviation College, Ilorin, is a pilot and flight engineer who has put in over 40 years as an aviator.
Before his present appointment, he was the head of flight operations in Air Nigeria, which has gone under, and he had worked in many airlines in the country.
Late last year Akinkuotu spoke exclusively to THISDAY in Windhoek, Namibia, about developments in Nigeria's aviation industry, which he would now become the regulator and described airline operation as cash cow but with long term profitability.
"The airline industry is not that of immediate profit, but it is a cash cow. This is a business where the last airline I worked was making N3 billion every month. But how much of the N3 billion is profit? Extremely little, if any. So if we understand that the money is not ours to take and we understand that there should be financial discipline...a great level of discipline and creditability. One of the problems sometimes is, you lease an airplane, you buy fuel on credit, you buy spare parts on credit and these are sometimes denominated in dollars. You have to train pilots and engineers in dollars... all of these require that you may have to buy things on credit; you have to pay regularly," he said.s
When asked to describe himself, he said: "My name is Captain Fola Akinkotun; I am the Rector of International Aviation College, Ilorin, which is the newest aviation college in Nigeria. I have been in the aviation industry most of my life. I will definitely say over 40 years in the industry. I started out as an aircraft engineer and I became a flight engineer and a pilot. I have flown in most of the airlines in Nigeria and I have over 13,000 hours of jet time. I have been in various things; I have been an instructor; a VIP pilot, I flew the Pope in 1997. I have done my bit."
Meanwhile, the Senate Thursday confirmed the re-appointment of Alhaji Suleiman Barau as a Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Barau's confirmation followed the president's request on January 16, urging the Senate to ratify his re-appointment for another tenure of five years.
Consequently, Barau was screened by Senate Committee on Finance, which recommended his confirmation to the Senate.
Also yesterday, the Senate committed a bill seeking to repeal the National Assembly Service Commission Act 2004 to Senate Committee on Establishment after it passed through the second reading.
While taking a lead debate on the bill, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Business and Rules, Ita Enang, who recalled that the National Assembly bill which was initiated in 2000 and became an Act in 2004 was brought forward for a repeal following a request by Jonathan on May 29, 2011 that it should be repealed because administrative structure of National Assembly Act as incorporated in the Act was at variance with similar structures in the federation.
Commenting on the bill, Mark said presentation of the bill for a repeal followed some of its provisions which rated Clerk of the National Assembly above the Head of Service of the federation and a Director in the National Assembly also rated to be equal with a Permanent Secretary in the civil service.
The Senate President said this was earlier done to enable the staff of the National Assembly grow independently and also save them from transfer outside the legislature so that they could be firm in legislative service and avoid being distracted.
In the same vein, the Senate yesterday committed a "Bill for an Act to Amend the Border Communities Development Agency (Establishment etc) and for Other Related Matters" to committees on Judiciary and Legal Matters and State and Local Government after scaling the second reading.
The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Femi Lanlehin sought better funding for National Border Development Agency with a view to securing the capacity to ameliorate the plights of Nigerians living in border communities.
Lanlehin who disclosed that some communities in 21 of the 36 states in Nigeria shared borders with foreign countries, lamented the neglect of the border communities by the government, saying the situation has forced Nigerians resident in such communities to often cross borders and seek succour in neighbouring countries.