Reps Call For Audit Of Nigeria’s Aviation Sector

By Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The House of Representatives has directed the Ministry of Aviation and relevant agencies to conduct a comprehensive audit of Airports personnel and contractors in Nigeria.

The House said that the audit should include an assessment of required skills, qualifications, and adherence to professional standards.

The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance on ” The Need To Enhance Accountable And Competence In Nigerian Airports” moved by Mr. Jesse Onuakalusi.

The House noted there was the dire need to maintain high standards of safety, security, and efficiency at the nation’s airports.

It also mandated an audit of all Contractors engaged in specialised areas at Nigerian airports in the last one year, assessing their knowledge, competency, and ability to perform their duties effectively and ensure contractors who have been engaged in the last one year to present their company profiles, detailing their expertise and previous work experience.

The House further mandated the Ministry of Aviation to conduct an Audit of Technical systems and projects to thoroughly review of the current state of RADAR systems, radio communications, the Safe Tower project, and the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) Automation project.

It equally directed the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, along with the heads of relevant agencies and departments to appear before the House Committee on Aviation within the next seven days to address these concerns.

The House Committee on Legislative compliance was mandated to diligently oversee the implementation of these resolutions.

It also noted that, the efficient functioning of Nigerian airports is crucial for national security, safety, and economic development.

The House further noted ” That recent incidents have raised concerns about the competence and accountability of personnel and contractors working at airports;t Aware of the potential risks to safety, security, and efficiency posed by the appointment of incompetent officers to sensitive positions and the employment of political appointees who may lack the necessary knowledge and competence to manage critical airport functions. worried about the abysmal state of our RADAR systems, which present a disaster waiting to happen as RADAR labels often fail at critical times, risking mid-air collisions.”

The lawmaker who moved the motion, Mr. Jesse Onuakalusi expressed worry about the state of the communication radios, with previous attempts to resolve the challenges yielding no positive improvements, leading pilots and controllers to rely on relays from others for necessary instructions, risking national embarrassment.

He said; “Disturbed that the stalled Safe Tower project, despite significant investment, needs urgent attention to improve the efficiency of our towers; Disturbed that the Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) Automation project has been ongoing for over fifteen (15) years without completion, which could solve communication challenges in the Airspace when completed;
The House was concerned that recent reports and observations indicating potential irregularities in the employment and appointment of personnel and contractors at major Nigerian airports, specifically in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, and Enugu; Concerned that the recruitment into technical areas must be regulated to prevent the manifestation of incompetence due to skewed recruitment processes.

The House said that appropriate sanctions for erring offenders related to Airspace management should be enforced, acknowledging that Nigerian airports play a critical role in the nation’s transportation infrastructure and overall economic development, and recognizing the importance of ensuring that all personnel and contractors working at these airports are qualified and competent;

It further acknowledged that political appointees play a role in personnel management. However, political influence should not compromise competence. I therefore urge all relevant authorities to prioritise merit-based appointments,” the lawmaker said.

The report of the aidit is expected to be presented to the House Committee on Aviation within fourteen days.

 

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere

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