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Stakeholders Demand Holistic Probe Of Aviation Sector


Following the arrest of top officials of the Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), including the agency’s managing director, Ibrahim Abdusalam, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday, the aviation industry stakeholders have urged the anti-graft agency to initiate a holistic probe of all agencies and parastatals in the aviation sector.

A frontline aviation labour unionist and a stakeholder who spoke with journalists in Lagos, Comrade Abdulrasaq Saidu, called on the EFCC to extend its investigations to all other agencies in the aviation sector when it is done with the NAMA.

Saidu, who is also a civil society representative in the Federal Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) on Federal Government Intervention Projects, said that he had monitored spending in the aviation between 2006 and 2013, saying that if the current government must fight corruption in the aviation industry, it must be all inclusive.

Saidu said that the EFCC officials who raided the NAMA last Friday acted on a tip off following petitions from some quarters over alleged corruption.

Meanwhile, a source informed LEADERSHIP yesterday that there is now palpable fear among the agencies in the aviation sector. The source said that such agencies as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), NiMET, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, and FAAN are now working hard on their accounts and finances in order not to be caught unprepared by the EFCC.

“This focus of the EFCC on the sector is happening when the heads of agencies are becoming comfortable in their offices after the initial fear of sack when the new government took over. But now, it is clear that they are retained by the president to answer to their roles and management shortcomings. Naturally, many of them would have been since sacked,” the source said.

The EFCC on Friday swooped on the Murtala Mohammed Airport headquarters of the NAMA and picked up, in addition to the agency’s managing director, Abdulsalam, the general manager, Procurement, Mr Olumuyiwa Adegorite, and general manager, Finance, Nurudeen Segun Agbolade, to answer to allegations of fraud with respect to the acquisition of the total radar coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) and other multi billion naira contracts.

EFCC is also seeking explanation into some alleged questionable contracts awarded to some companies without following due process.

As if it had been hinted of possible investigation by the EFCC, NAMA recently embarked on an aggressive publicity of the achievements of the agency under Abdusallam, which was published by a number of newspapers (excluding LEADERSHIP) and several online aviation industry media in the last few days.

Saidu however noted that past management of NAMA started the TRACON project and must not be let off the hook as if they have case to answer adding that the present management was only implementing the TRACON.

He also called on the EFCC to investigate why and how the former Nigeria Airways was liquidated, how much it was sold and who went away with the money realized from its sale.

“We are also urging the EFCC to beam its light into the NCAA in order to look into the funds from the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA).

Also speaking Alhaji Abdulyekeen Umar of aviation safety publisher said all the agencies must be probed especially Nigeria Meteorological Agency NiMET.

He said NAMAs invasion was just the beginning and head of agency in the aviation sector must be probed.

According to Abdulyekeen all money stolen must be returned by those who stole from the government coffers and must be made to pay interest on the money.

Said had fur theoretical queried how much the regulatory body, NCAA realised from MTN over mast installation as part of its internally generated revenue and failed to send its workers on trainings adding that EFCC must look into their records.

“Over expansion of directorates in the agencies through ministerial fiat must be reduced as they did not add value to the operations and profitability of the organisations must be reduced. The expenses in the top management cadre must be reviewed on order to avoid wastages in the system,” he said.

He further urged EFCC to look into contract awarded in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN, where contracts were awarded without execution adding that it amounted to sabotage. EFCC should look into the internally generated revenues on all the agencies.

Saidu said the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria will not be left out as the school must also be visited by EFCC operatives.

“Any organisation that does not train its workforce has failed and any organisation claiming to have trained and did not train is postponing the evil days,” he noted.

He said foreigners have taken over the jobs that Nigerians ought to have been doing as a result of corruption in the system.

He want the present minister of finance and the director of budgeting to resuscitate MTSS policy that will eradicate the over invoicing, over pricing and, diversion of funds in the nineteen ministry.

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