Lagos — Aviation unions in Nigeria have warned against the implementation of the Orasanye report which recommends the merger of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the aviation regulator, with service providers like the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and the Nigerian Airspace Agency (NAMA).
In a protest letter to the Federal Government through the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, the agencies warned that if the Federal Government heeded the recommendation, all the gains in the aviation industry would be reversed.
Three aviation unions: Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) jointly signed the petition.
The unions said, "... the Steve Oronsaye Committee was either ill-advised or did not possess adequate knowledge about Nigeria's obligation in the area of establishment of a state civil aviation system as prescribed in relevant documents of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to which Nigeria is a signatory to its convention: the Chicago Convention 1944, and an active member."
The unions had previously protested the merger proposal to the then President Goodluck Jonathan and the then ICAO President, Dr. Bernard Aliu.
The unions further noted that it was "important to state here that because of the premium ICAO attaches to the independence/autonomy of civil aviation regulatory agencies around the world and the need to separate aviation regulators from aviation services providers, the ICAO president visited Nigeria and held a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan wherein he strongly advised the government against the proposed merger."
According to the unions, Jonathan thus dropped the idea.
They explained that all three agencies provided distinct functions that did not overlap and that it was disingenuous for anyone to have recommended their merger.
They further said, "We dare state that 18 years of preparation that have yielded significant safety improvements in the aviation industry today should not be compromised under the umbrella of an ill-advised merger.
"Nigerians should not forget so soon the dark days of aircraft crashes and the hard lessons we have learnt from them. Today, we have undertaken over six million take-offs and landings in commercial flights in Nigeria with zero accident, an achievement we must say, isn't accidental."