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Nigeria Air suspension: It was a baby born dead on arrival, we need to re-strategize, it’s just a suspension……Abioye


With the announcement of the suspension of the Nigerian Air project by the Minister of state,Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika on his twitter handle that the Federal Executive Council Meeting had decided to suspend the project, stakeholders say they are disturbed about the news after much efforts and funds have been expended on the project with the hope to see it materialize.

Secretary General, National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Comrade Olayinka Abioye speaks on this

The Federal Government just announced the suspension of the Nigeria Air project, how did you feel when you heard this news?

We received this news with mixed feelings, one of sadness and one of joy, sadness in the sense that its going to set us back with loss and loss of millions of Naira and dollars wasted and the opportunities that the national carrier would have brought in our national economy in the creation of employment and so on and so forth has been lost. However, on the other side of the coin, we are happy that it has happened because we saw it coming because we warned that this is not the way to go about it a national carrier that would be public, private, partnership Initiative, from all intent and purpose, we want to commend the Federal Government for taking this wise decision for reversing itself. This means therefore, that we need to go back to the drawing board and do it again and do it very well this time around or any other time the government feels like bring back this issue, you see, it was a baby born dead on arrival, this is a very sad thing for us as a nation.

Most of the union leaders where not happy when government was conceiving this idea based on the fact that the former airways workers have not been paid their entitlements?

You know, we also said that this national carrier would not be born until and unless whatever is owed our patriotic Nigerians who worked in the former Nigeria Airways Limited are paid their money and luckily you would have also heard that they were a mild protest yesterday in Abuja so much so that the Acting Minister of Finance has promised that she should be given time to study the case and invite the unions to a meet appropriately, you see, it is the cumulation of these things, its even an embarrassment to the Federal government, the FG has approved payments, one year, four months after, the payment is not yet in site to be given to the ex-workers, hopes of theses individuals were raised and dashed, we should been seen by the international community as a nation of responsible people that when we say Yes, we mean Yes and when we say No, we mean No and we must also learn the culture of leading people correctly, all these political office holders are political office holders, they are not there for public interest.

Don’t you think this suspension would also affect investors coming to invest in Nigeria especially in the aviation industry?

I agree with you, that’s why I said we receive this news with mixed feelings, we are sad about so many things that would have gone wrong and the fears it is creating in the minds of the people who are already investing in and who intends to invest in the project, the plans they have had, I was discussing with someone few minutes ago that we have a lot of people who are already hopeful of a new life through the national carrier, we have had people waiting to go and submit papers for contract, we have people who are studying the economy of the nigeria environment and where business can be done particularly with the Ease of Doing Business by the government, so the news came with all sorts of back lashing, it’s not good for us but at the same time, its also good for us but at the same time its also good for us to learn to do things properly because if we have done it properly we wouldn’t have say, we are suspending or we are going back on it, it would have been a smooth sail to carry the private sector, private investors, entrepreneur and foreigners alike who are interested in this thing, we sit down together and strategies on how to form a national carrier with all the advantages it offers Nigerians and the international public.

Do you think the suspension might be lifted soon?
I want to believe that we already have a plan on ground so it will not be difficult, its just a suspension, a suspension is just that okay, let us keep it aside, deal with some other matters by the time we finish with other matters, we will come back to it, that’s my interpretation. Now, we already have a framework, it is that framework that we need to go back to and find-tune it and ensure that those things that were neglected and those other stakeholders that were not considered, those other interested parties that have been cast aside, all these group of people are brought together, we are hopeful that we deal with this matter in a very transparent manner and that’s the way forward, it has just been suspended, we can pick it up and come out with a brand new ideal.


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