…….calls on the Presidency to intervene
The National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE has alleged that the petition by two unions on the issue of indebtedness of Arik Air to FAAN and the NCAA is a smokescreen.
The union says, the petition calling for the suspension of the issuance of an Air Operator’s Certificate, AOC to NG Eagle is being orchestrated by certain individuals under the guise of unions and pretense of Arik debts to protect the interest of the Aviation Ministry.
The union at a press briefing says, the real issue is the politics of a new national carrier and there is fear on the side of the Minister of Aviation that AMCON has positioned its new airline, NG Eagle, to metamorphose into a national carrier.
Comrade Ocheme Aba, General Secretary of NUATE said, the efforts of the Aviation Minister for the past 6 years to create an airline called the Nigeria Air may go to waste if the NG Eagle is alllowed to debut.
This the union shown maybe a failure on the Minister’s part to deliver the airline which is part of his much touted Aviation Development Roadmap.
Comrade Aba said, the fear is that if NG Eagle succeeds, then the Nigeria Air project would be jettisoned, “That means one of the airlines must bulge. This, we understand, is the crux of the matter”.
According to him, as AMCON and the Ministry are both agencies of the Federal Government, there is clearly no possibility of the two airlines operating side by side as national carriers.
“This does not in any way downplay the significance of Arik’s indebtedness to FAAN and others. If anything, it suggests that there is pressing need to find a solution to Arik’s heavy pile of debts.The above situation has pitted FAAN and NCAA on the one hand against AMCON on the other hand. NCAA and FAAN are parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Aviation, while AMCON is a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Finance and is also supervised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The two Ministers, the CBN Governor, and the heads of the other agencies are all senior officers of the Executive arm of the Federal government of Nigeria”.
He added, “Therefore, this executive fiasco alludes to failure of the executive to put its house in order. This unfortunately paints a picture of a government at war with itself. And if this war is not quickly brought to an end, we fear that the aviation sector of the national economy will suffer dire consequences, especially at this time that the sector is going through a burdensome grappling with the serious negative impact of the receding corona virus pandemic”.
Comrade Aba said, rather than badmouth AMCON, it should be praised for coming to the rescue of Arik Air and Aero contractor when it was actually easier to liquidate, adding that, AMCON has saved and protected thousands of jobs and saved the industry from sudden collapse.
“For this the corporation should be praised, not vilified. The apparent gang up against the interest of AMCON represented by withholding of AOC to NG Eagle amounts to repudiation of the gratitude that the aviation family owes AMCON. And NUATE is truly disturbed by this”.
NUATE is therefore calling on the Presidency which is the apex of the Executive Arm of Government to duty over this serious malady in order to avert a major mishap in the aviation sector.
“In particular, NUATE hereby calls on the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Chief of Staff to the President (CoS) to urgently intervene in these matters and facilitate an immediate cease fire and chart a path to progress on the sensitive issues”.