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Tension grips NCAA, NAMA workers as Buhari orders sack of 1500

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Worries as ICAO deadline axe dangles over Nigeria

The headquarters of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) were in a tense mood Monday morning as workers resumed work after the weekend break.

This followed a disclosure by the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the sacking of no fewer than 1,500 staff of the two establishments.

Many offices at both corporations were deserted as workers were gripped with fears of who would be sacked by the presidential order soon.

Read also: NSE RoundUp! Nigerian equities hit 5-month low with N279b loss despite global rally

The fate of the two agencies has been hanging on the balance since government broached the idea of concessioning the country’s airports, leading to scaling down its concerns in the three parastatals under the ministry: FAAN, NCAA and NAMA.

Sirika, at a public function at the weekend confirmed that his ministry had received a presidential order stating categorically that the Presidency is no longer comfortable with alleged bloated workforce at the agencies.

He said the staff prune down, which started with FAAN, is now to be carried out in the remaining two, with more than 90 general managers, on level 17; about 22 assistant general managers and other cadres on levels 15 and above.

He stated, “Government has no option than to weed out unrequired personnel in the system,” adding that, “President Muhammadu Buhari has already given his approval for proper restructuring to take place in all the agencies.

“As I’m talking to you now, we have approval for proper restructuring in the agencies. We have started with FAAN and will very soon get to other remaining ones in the sector.”

But the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) said it is yet to accept the sacks that took place in FAAN in mid October 2016.

“It’s like this government is testing our collective will, and we’ll soon prove that there is a limit that we could be pushed to the wall and as such there will be no option than to totally ground the sector.” said the secretary general, Mr. Wale Adeoye .

The union was quick to point out that while the workers were still grappling with the spate of job losses resulting from suspension of operations by some airlines, government is adding to the labour market by threatening to further reduce the staff strength of the agencies, which are the largest employers of the workforce in the sector, describing the move as a mark of government’s insensitivity.
By Emma Eke….

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