Nigeria’s Aviation Industry Is One-Man-Show Under Sirika-Union

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), has said that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, is running the industry like private affair.

The union’s president, Ben Nnabue, said this on Saturday during his May Day address in Lagos.

News Agency of Nigeria quoted the president to have claimed that there had never been governing boards for agencies under the aviation ministry.

Nnabue faulted the minister for what he termed the “folly of one-man-show in the governance of the sector.”

He noted that Sirika heading all the Interim Boards as chair meant that the aviation sector was being run without mechanism for checks and balances..

Nabue lamented that the situation was unhealthy for the industry, adding that past demonstrations over the issue had not yielded the needed result.

“Stakeholders in the industry have tolerated this circumstance for six whole years is quite honestly incomprehensible,” the union head said.

He also decried that after ten years, the country has failed to float a national carrier, saying it was “a labour and colossal financial waste.”

The NUATE President pointed out that it was disheartening that state like Akwa Ibom has successfully launched an airline.

He said, “A state government, Akwa Ibom, has since successfully launched its own airline without any fanfare, which is fast becoming the industry’s leader, our country has woefully failed in its attempt to birth a national carrier after these years.

“The proposed aircraft leasing company, national aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility and aerotropolis development, all flagship programmes of this federal administration, have all suffered paralysis, in spite of massive support from all stakeholders and informed Nigerians.”

Nnabue said under his watch as NUATE National President, the sector has been able to manage private sector issues through pragmatic, systematic and strategic trade union practices.

He said, “It is to the credit of our approach that today, the only visible signs of crisis are in Turkish Airlines and Arik Air.

“While we acknowledge that serious industrial relations situations exist in practically every branch of the union, we cannot fail to see the fact that these issues are being doggedly curtailed through the efforts of the National Secretariat working assiduously with NAC and the branch leaderships.

“While we look forward to the resolutions of the Turkish Airlines and Arik Air imbroglios in the next few days, we cannot but call on all NUATE structures nationwide to be on red alert.

“Any further slip-ups by the managements of these organisations will definitely amount to taking us for a ride and will attract countermeasures from the labour movement with maximum force.”

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