Union Raises Alarm Over Safety In Aviation , Warns Against Diversion Of Funds

MMIA-LagosBy Chuks Okoh

The Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) has raised an alarm over alleged high powered politics at play over the release of funds for the purchase of critical safety instruments.

A  letter to the aviation minister Osita Chidoka with reference ATSSSAN/ADM/MOA/Vol.4/185 dated 18th November, 2014 and signed by Captain Tamongu  deputy national secretary declared, “We cannot continue to toy with the life of innocent Nigerians and the flying public.  You will agree with us that these equipments are very critical to safe takeoff and landing of aircraft and moreso your avowed commitment to security and safe airspace safe as a priority”

According to ATSSSAN ,contracts for these purchases have since been awarded and due process certificate for procurement issued awaiting the release of funds from the BASA Funds.

ATSSSAN reminded the minister that, part of the master plan was the purchase and installation of critical safety equipment’s like the Airfield lightening instrument, landing system (ILS) and high tech, bird strike prevention instruments among others for many airports across the country especially those with high frequencies.

“You will recall Honourable Minister, that in our presentation to you on assumption of office at the first interactive session with stakeholders, we did emphasize that the Aviation Industry currently have a master plan under the transformation agenda of the Aviation Sector by the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, as was vigorously been pursued by your predecessor Princess Stella Oduah”

They declared that they cannot also fold their hands and allow the already collapsing domestic airlines incur avoidable expenses on engine repair and replacement as a result of bird strike.

“As critical stakeholders and pressure group in the Aviation Industry in Nigeria, we are constrained to request further information from your honourable office on the state of these purchases, to enable us direct our agitations appropriately”

In a related development, the union said they are constrained by the various calls and questions from its members all over the Airports in across the country on recent purported pronouncement from the minister’s office on the planned privatization of the airports in Nigeria and ask for the official position of things on this matter.

“We must say that these purported news as reported in various electronics and print media have created huge tension in the system and a lot of confusion in the air which is capable of  mortgaging safety hence we cannot afford to pretend not to have read or heard it”

ATSSSAN requested to know the official position of government through the Ministry of Aviation on the purported privatization of the Airports, in order to brief its members adequately and appropriately.

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