EXCLUSIVE: Disquiet In NCAA Over Secret Recruitment Of 200 Employees As Director Resigns
There is tension in Nigeria’s aviation industry following alleged ongoing secret recruitment of aviation safety inspectors and others by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
Top sources at the agency who showed THE WHISTLER evidence of the secret recruitment, said most of the new employees do not possess the minimum requirement for the positions they are to fill.
In addition, the sources revealed, the recruitment is concentrated in one geo-political region of the country.
The NCAA is an agency under the Ministry of Aviation established by the 2006 Civil Aviation Act as the apex regulatory body overseeing the activities of all airlines, pilots, engineers,cabin staff and airports.
It also oversees airstrips and heliports, navigation aids, all service providers including the airport authority and the air traffic service provider, and aviation training institutions.
It is saddled with the responsibility of also regulating the service providers such as the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria.
The NCAA has technical and administrative staff. The technical staff oversees inspections of airlines among other duties.
The safety department is divided into Operations and Airworthiness Directorates. For proper oversight of operators and the safety of aircraft, the inspectors are supposed to have qualifications that are the same or above the operators they regulate.
But this does not seem to be the case as many of those said to be currently recruited may be unqualified.
Secrete Recruitment Of Unqualified Employees By NCAA
An administrative document obtained by THE WHISTLER shows that over 200 new employees were recruited by the NCAA, with nearly 90 percent from the North.
Those recruited are said to be linked to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and other top members of the agency.
The Curriculum Vitae of some of those recruited indicate that they are graduates of Islamic Studies who have been posted to the technical department of the NCAA.
New Employees Awarded High-Grade Levels Against Civil Service Rules
More worrisome to our sources is that some of the new employees have been placed far above the grade level commensurate with their experience and qualifications.
“The beneficiaries are not only northerners but are dictating where they should be deployed and what grade level they should be given as entry point, in flagrant contravention of the public service rules.
The implication is that these ones will quickly rise to managerial positions and dictate what happens in the industry,” one of the sources told THE WHISTLER.
It was gathered that back in 2020, similar recruitment occurred when newly recruited staff with REF: NCAA/DHR&A/03/1513/VOL.1/192 (name withheld) was given the offer of appointment as an Aviation Safety I on a Grade Level 12 NCAA Salary Scale (NCAASS)
This is in contravention of the provisions of the NCAA Scheme of Service which provides that Aviation Safety (I) is for Grade Level 09, while NCAASS 12 is for the job description of Aviation Safety Inspector (III).
He was placed on the NCAA salary grade above his job description and receives higher pay than his superiors.
Human Resources and Administration Cooking Up Documents To Cover Up
The Directorate of Human Resources and Administration (DHR&A) is saddled with the responsibility of recruitment and selection of staff; staff movement and transfer; appointments and confirmation of all forms of appointment; retirement administration among others.
One of the sources told THE WHISTLER that the Directorate of Human Resources and Administration, which is in charge of recruitment, is allegedly generating documents to show interviews were conducted at various levels.
For instance, the source said in a particular “directorate like (name withheld) about over close 20 new persons were employed and no member of the directorate took part in the process against the usual custom.
“Specific questions are asked by representatives of the directorates to test candidate’s knowledge and also, adverts showing vacancies was not placed and the people recruited are too much.”
The list dated April 2023 obtained by THE WHISTLER, shows that out of the newly recruited staff in the directorate, only one is from Southern Nigeria, specifically from Rivers State (NCAA/P.2223).
Katsina State has five slots; Kaduna three slots; Gombe two slots; Bauchi two slots; Jigawa two; Niger one; Kano one; Adamawa one slot and Kogi one.
This shows the list from the directorate alone is 94.7 Northerners.
Director Resigns Over Rot In System
THE WHISTLER found that the Head of Aircraft Safety (Director of Airworthiness), Engineer Kayode Isiaka Ajiboye, has resigned his appointment over alleged rot in the NCAA.
Ajiboyed tendered his resignation on March 30, 2023, and gave one month’s notice.
Recently, N2bn was discovered in the accounts of a few officials of the agency’s finance department by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
According to sources, the safety unit does not have enough funds to prosecute critical safety assignments and adequately pay the technical staff.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back for the Head of safety is the ongoing secret recruitment in the agency.
“Ajiboye’s resignation is not unconnected to the fact that almost all of the newly employed who were forcefully sent to the technical directorates with degrees such as Islamic studies and languages, will
end up as misfits in the system and may compromise the safety standard he has established for civil aviation operation in the country.
“If care is not taken to review and reverse where necessary all employments made into the agency in the last 1 year, it won’t be long before Nigeria begin to experience air incidences and crashes.
“One thing is however evident, the former Head of aircraft safety at the regulatory agency is frustrated and has read the handwriting on the wall, he has therefore done what a reasonable gentleman would do
to keep his honour intact,” a senior staff of the NCAA (name withheld) said.
NCAA Declines To Comment On Allegations
When the Authority was contacted for comment on the allegations, Samuel Adurogboye, General Manager of Public Relations declined to speak on the matter.
After several efforts to reach him since last week, Adurogboye said on Tuesday, “Do you have a copy of that allegation or petition? I can’t react to hearsay . If you have a copy forward it to me on WhatsApp or send it via text. I work with the NCAA, we can only react
to something tangential. We don’t react to rumour.”
But the mode of recruitment into the NCAA has become a concern among industry players.
The condition in the industry has decayed to the extent that over 110 accidents (Major and minor) have been recorded since 2010, according to accident records obtained from the Investigation Bureau.