Unions in the aviation industry have protested against a recent appointment in the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) where a general manager in charge of finance was brought in from outside whereas the agency has qualified staff for the position.
The unions, made up of Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria, (ATSSSAN), National Union of Air Transport Employees, (NUATE) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) said the federal government had been insensitive to the progression of career professionals in the agency.
Addressing the protesters at the FAAN premises, the general secretary of NUATE, Mr. Olayinka Abioye urged the government to rescind the decision saying it goes contrary to the agreement they had with the minister of state for aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika during the proper placement parley.
He said the minister had assured the unions that outsiders would not be given positions meant for career civil servants in the sector.
“After a critical analysis of the appointment, we have observed that there was an error in bringing in an outsider to head FAAN’s department of finance and we are saying NO to such appointment.
“The position he is being given is a career position and the minister has already told us that he doesn’t want outsiders to come and hijack any position in FAAN,” he said.
He said the unions were studying other political appointments made in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Accident Investigation Bureau, (AIB).
“We have found some errors in those appointments and at the appropriate time, we will react even though the government has the prerogative power of appointment into any directorate level.
“We are going to communicate our position in writing to the minister because if this industry must move forward, only capable persons who have the prerequisite experiences should be given appointments,” he said.
Also speaking, general secretary of NAAPE, Mr. Aba Ochema said the issue of bringing in outsiders was demoralizing for the workers who had put in many years only to be denied their legitimate aspiration.
He maintained that the development would only make workers less productive and stunt the growth of aviation industry in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the president of ATSSSAN, Mr. Ilitrus Ahmadu described the development as “unfortunate” saying career civil servants are not given the opportunity to challenge those coming in from outside for such positions via written tests.
“They need to prove that they are better than the people already on the ground and that they deserve the jobs but unfortunately that has not been the case,” he said.