- The Aviation Safety Roundtable (ART) said the Ministry of Aviation should be scrapped and turned into a department within the Ministry of Transport.
- The ART criticized the conduct and last-minute activities of the outgoing Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, and argues that the ministry’s functions should be placed under proper governance structures.
- The ART emphasizes the need for independence for the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and suggests that the Ministry of Aviation’s involvement in space research and administration should not impede progress in the field.
Aviation Safety Roundtable (ART), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the Nigerian aviation industry, said the conduct and performance of the outgoing Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has further fuelled the need for the scrapping of the Ministry of Aviation.
According to the group, the ministry should be made a department in the Ministry of Transport.
Criticisms against Hadi Sirika
ART further described the last-minute changes and activities of the outgoing Minister as capricious, despicable and unwarranted in the twilight of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
This is as the Minister recently extended the tenure of the Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Capt. Alkali Madibbo by an additional one-year period.
A statement signed by ART’s President, Dr Gabriel Olowo, explained that it has become necessary to scrap the ministry and place the various departments in the sector with proper governance structures back in the Ministry of Transport.
Olowo further castigated the minister who, like others, has been mandated to hand over to the Permanent Secretaries in their ministries the change of name of the Federal Ministry of Aviation to that of the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace.
Sirika had said that the name change was approved by the outgoing Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Olowo argued that the annexation of the National Aerospace Research Development Agency (NASRDA) into the Ministry of Aviation would impede the progress so far made by NASRDA under its parent ministry – the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
Independence to NCAA
It, however, said that it is necessary to grant independence to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) under the appropriate internationally recognised structures for regulating the Nigerian aviation sector to achieve global best practices.
The body maintained that the Nigerian aviation industry needs strong institutions with solid processes and systems, rather than strong men.
It further stated that the Centre for Space Transportation and Propulsion, whose activities include the sustenance of rapid advances in propulsion systems and rocket science, should not be impeded by the Ministry of Aviation’s terrestrial operations.
According to ART, the aviation ministry was already under stress with the existing workload and the departure of capable hands, arguing that it is not equipped to handle the additional function of Space Research and Administration.
Other demands by ART
According to ART, the country would benefit tremendously if the Nigerian space agency remained an independent but properly funded organisation with the inclusion of the Minister of Aviation or his representative on its governing Board alongside other ministerial appointees as provided in Section 2 of the NASRDA Act.
Appraising Hadi Sirika’s tenure
ART posited that it would have rated the tenure of Sirika as a total failure, but for the fact that he appointed capable and qualified individuals to run the various departments and agencies under him in almost eight years of his reign in the sector.
It said the professionals, in its view, discharged their duties creditably well despite the ministerial bottlenecks placed on their paths by Sirika. Part of the statement said:
- “For solid eight years, the Minister of Aviation appropriated the required governance structure under his control by neglecting to appoint the statutory Governing Boards required to ease the functions of the agencies and parastatals under him. The ART is of the opinion that this amongst other actions taken by the minister regressed rather than grow the organisations.
- “The minister’s direct control resulted in transactional rather than functional operation of the agencies, thereby impeding their progress and his rating. The minister through his micromanagement activities has further demonstrated the need to scrap the Ministry of Aviation and place the various departments with proper governance structures back in the Ministry of Transport while granting independence to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority under the appropriate internationally recognized structures for regulating the Nigerian aviation sector to achieve global best practices.”
What you should know
Hadi Sirika said Buhari approved the extension of tenure of NCAT Rector, Capt. Alkali Madibbo for another year.
Sirika had also removed Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, the immediate past Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), citing the end of his tenure as the reason.
- “The Directors-General of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Engr Akin Olateru the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof Mansur Matazu and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu are to run the remaining course of their tenures in line with the Acts setting up their respective agencies.
- “The Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria, Capt. Alkali Modibo, has been granted a one-year extension, also in line with the Act setting up the College.”