Barely 24 hours after the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, announced some major appointments in the sector’s key agencies, some aviation professionals have raised an alarm of possible, impending air crashes.
Two professional bodies in the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (Nimet)- the Professional Meteorologists Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) – claimed that most of those that were appointed into key positions by Sirika were incompetent.
A joint statement issued by the associations, as seen by Nairametrics, further warned that this could spell doom for the sector.
The two bodies specifically alleged that the appointment of Daniel Okafor and Charles Anosike to the positions of Director of Weather Forecasting and Applied Meteorological Services, respectively, may affect the recent safety enjoyed in the sector.
They claimed that the newly appointed individuals lacked the wherewithal to manage the key positions they have been appointed.
They insisted that the appointment of the two men by Sirika showed that the former minister lacked the capacity and intellectual ability to comprehend the sciences of meteorology. They stressed that the “two appointments to these critical directorates depict that very soon, planes would start falling off from the sky.”
The groups went further to claim that the appointment of the two men was an attempt to sabotage the incoming government in the industry. The group said:
“From the meteorology professionals and the union, we recognise that this singular attempt is to sabotage the incoming government to fail in the aviation sector.
“The two newly appointed directors do not have the minimum qualification of meteorology to handle the office. They do not qualify to be on Level 8 in the meteorological cadre.
“After a recent meeting by critical professionals in the agency, they have decided to take this malfunction appointment to the incoming administration on the looming catastrophe in the aviation sector. Also, the professional meteorologists have equally informed the union in the sector on a Save Our Soul (SOS) signal on this appointment.”
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The meteorologists in the letter, rejected the appointments of the two and threatened to embark on a nationwide protest to press home their demand.
The groups alleged that Okafor, for instance, was engaged in contract scams for Sirika, maintaining that he was brought into the system by the minister and put in the critical safety department of Nimet, even without the requisite experience.
They also accused the Nimet management of giving out ambiguous and sham contracts to the cronies of the minister, alleging that the agency was misappropriating funds and legitimising impunity and fraudulent contract scams.
They alleged that Sirika reduced Nimet to an arm of his private company with all sense of impunity and violating public service.
They also accused the Director-General of Nimet of being the conduit pipe for Sirika in the last eight years and appealed to the next administration to critically look into the activities in the agency to prevent it from total collapse. (Nairametrics)