The long awaited removal popularly referred to as ‘sunami’ in local parlance which occurred Monday with the sack of four heads of agencies in the aviation sector has continued to generate reactions from stakeholders.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday approved the sack and immediate appointments into these key positions.
Captain Fola Akinkuotu as Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) who takes over from Mr. Emma Anasi who was billed for retirement this month.
Professor Sani Abubakar Mashi as the Director-General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) replaces Dr. Anthony Anoforum who has exceeded his two tenure of 8 years.
Capt. Abdulsalam Mohammed now Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria takes over from Captain Samuel Caulcrick, who had barely spent his 4 years as the rector .
Finally, Engineer Akinola Olateru as the Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) replaces Dr. Felix Abali as AIB commissioner.
A statement by Permanent Secretary Minister of State (Aviation) Sabiu Zakari described the different appointees as qualified for the various positions appointed.
Captain Fola C. Akinkuotu- Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency(NAMA). Captain Akinkuotu is a seasoned Transport Pilot, Flight and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, Airline Chief Executive and a trained Aviation Industry Regulator;
Professor Sani Abubakar Mashi – Director-General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET)
A Professor of Geography with specialty in Environmental Application of Remote Sensing, Professor Mashi is currently a Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Abuja
Captain Abdulsalam Mohammed -Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria.
An alumnus of the College, Capt. Mohammed is a renowned Civil Aviation Trainer and Examiner with accreditation by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and the Federal Civil Aviation Adminisrtation.
Engr. Akinola Olateru – Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB)
An engineer of international repute, Olateru is a trained Air Accident Manager and Certified Safety Officer with Aircraft Maintenance Engineering licenses in Nigeria, USA and the United Kingdom.
In a swifte reaction, former president, Aviation Roundtable, Captain Dele Ore while commending the removal of the various heads of agencies said the new appointment would help to inject new ideas into the system and redirect the industry on the path of compliance to standards and recommended practice.
In his words, “There should be qualified persons at the helms of affairs in the agency while unqualified persons should be booted out, ”
Captain Ore was however not happy with the retaining of the Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA Captain Mukhtar Usman.
He said although the DG is a trained pilot and engineer, he does not have the qualifications to hold the highest position as the regulator of the industry.
Captain Ore stressed that the industry deserves the very best not a weak regulator who is never on seat to attend to matters of safety, training and proper regulation, adding that the industry is gradually heading for a crash if not saved.
Captain Ore said, “In NCAA, training has been stopped. A weak DG is one that allows any anything goes. Airworthiness has been lowered. A system that does not make for good and credible acquisition of Air Operators Certificate (AOC) is a fraud.”
He emphasized that “training has been stalled in NCAA. The weakest link of this industry is licensing and before our license becomes Oluwole, I believe we need to do something about it. A weak DG is the one that will allow anything to go in the licensing department. When a DG does not sit in Lagos and Nigeria, how does he plan for his succession? This man is not always on seat.
What about the AOC they issue to airlines? The system was weak and is still weak. A system that allow people who are not qualified to have AOCs is a very rotten system. Nobody could have done that under Demuren”.
He recalled that 5 years ago, the industry was placed on an enviable heights by the then Directir General, NCAA , Dr. Harold Demuren.
“At time, we reached 97 per cent in ICAO safety audit, but now, we now have 65 per cent, but let us remember that in this industry, the pass mark is 65 per cent in anything we do and we are happy. Demuren raised the standard so high, but it has been lowered gradually over the years. We are in the minimum requirement now and I made bold to say so. We need a stronger leadership in NCAA”.