17 July 2018

Nigeria: Investigation - Why Inauguration of Aviation Agencies' Boards Stalls

Lagos — Eight months after President Muhammadu Buhari appointed chairmen and members of boards of some government parastatals, those in the aviation sector have not been inaugurated, Daily Trust can report.

The affected agencies include the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian College of Aviation (NCAT), Zaria and the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET).

For NAMA, Dr. Yakubu Lame was appointed as chairman with Abdullahi Y. Gashua and Capt. Ibraheem Olugbade as members.

Former governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, was appointed as Chairman of FAAN Board with Akingbesote M. Akinyeye, Suleiman Mohammed Bello and Bello Babura as members.

The NCAA has Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi as chairman with four members - Chief Edet Nkpebre, Uzoma Igbonwa, Hon. Adisa Adeniji and Mohammed Salau Kafi.

Dr. Simeon Adeyemi Afolayan was named NIMET Chairman while Otunba J.F Alake and Dr. Chichi Ashwe are members.

NCAT has Mrs. Deborah Iliyas as chairman and Chief Simon Owhofa as a member.

However, eight months after they were named, they are yet to be inaugurated by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, amidst grumbling from some quarters.

President Buhari in February, through a circular signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, directed all ministers to inaugurate the boards of various parastatals under their supervision.

National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, also last week gave Sirika and Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige one week to inaugurate the boards.

Daily Trust learnt that operations of many of the agencies have been stalled following the absence of boards. Many staff and officials of the affected agencies are said to be unhappy as their promotions have reportedly been put in abeyance.

"Promotion and appointments come under the purview of the board. Even in award of contracts, there are limits that the CEOs can go," a highly placed source said.

But a senior official in the ministry confirmed to Daily Trust that the inauguration of the boards was stalled following the composition which falls short of the statutory requirements of the acts establishing the agencies.

It was learnt that the acts establishing the agencies stipulate the qualification of the persons to be appointed into the boards.

For instance, it was learnt that the NCAA Act stipulates the appointment of professionals as chairman and members of the board, as well as representatives from three ministries.

Part three of the NCAA Act said, "The Authority shall have a Governing Board (in this Act referred to as "the Board") which shall consist of: (a) Chairman; (b)one representative not below the rank of a Director of the following Ministries: (i) the Federal Ministry of Aviation or the Ministry for the time being responsible for Aviation; (ii) the Federal Ministry of Defence or the Ministry for the time being responsible for Defence; and (iii) the Federal Ministry of Communications or the Ministry for the time being responsible for Communications."

But the appointments did not meet these stipulations, it was learnt. A source said this is applicable to other agencies as the government failed to take cognizance of the Acts establishing them before making the appointments.

Following the development, the minister is said to have raised the issue with the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who is expected to advise government on what to do.

Efforts to get the minister's response proved abortive yesterday.

The General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Olayinka Abioye, in an interview with Daily Trust decried the development, querying why the minister has refused to inaugurate the boards.

"When you have a board in place, the minister seemingly does not exist except in higher policy formulation. The day-to-day running is vested in the CEO and the board.

"Again there is a smokescreen somewhere. Do you know that since the Federal Government announced members of the various boards of these parastatals, the minister has deliberately refused to inaugurate these boards," he said.


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