Daily Trust

Uneasy calm in aviation over Oronsaye’s report

‘Merging regulator with service providers will cause confusion’

- From Abdullatee­f Aliyu, Lagos

There is uneasy calm in the aviation industry over the proposed full implementa­tion of Steve Oransaye’s report on restructur­ing and rationalis­ation of government agencies and parastatal­s.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Monday ordered the full implementa­tion of the report within the next three months.

The report had dragged on for over a decade since it was commission­ed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

In 2022, former President Muhammadu Buhari set up a white paper committee to review the report.

In the report, the committee recommende­d the merger of three aviation agencies; the

Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Meteorolog­ical Agency (NiMET) into a new body to be known as the Federal Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA) while amending their respective enabling laws to reflect the merger.

The committee also recommende­d that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) be privatised.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Monday approved the immediate adoption of the report.

If the implementa­tion of the report is anything to go by, it means the regulatory authority would be merged with other agencies which stakeholde­rs said would not be feasible especially given the country’s membership of Internatio­nal Civil Aviation Organisati­on (ICAO).

ICAO Standard and Recommende­d Practices, they said, forbid merger of the regulator with the service providers, especially the airspace navigation service providers represente­d by NAMA.

General Secretary of the Associatio­n of Nigerian Aviation Profession­als (ANAP), Rasaq Saidu, said the implementa­tion would cause confusion in the industry.

“That is confusion. It is not possible. There is division of labour and responsibi­lity in line with ICAO standard and recommende­d practices.

“They have tried it before and it failed. Why are people deceiving Tinubu? It is not aviation that they should come to. It is not feasible in aviation,” he said.

General Secretary, National Associatio­n of Aircraft Pilots and Employees (NAAPE), Comrade Olayinka Abioye, said the matter is speculativ­e.

“All we are doing is unnecessar­y speculatio­n until the aviation minister informs his agencies we may continue to speculate. But by next week hopefully the unions will come out to speak directly on the matter,” he said.

Former Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Capt. Samuel Caulcrick, stated that NAMA, NCAA and Nimet merger “will degrade efficiency and safety.”

“It’s almost Herculean to switch mindsets from regulatory to operations, in an instance, particular­ly at the managerial level.

“If you merge a regulatory body with an operation, it will cause a crisis. One is operation, the other is to show compliance. So, it is going to be tough,” he said.

Aviation analyst, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, rtd, said, “Before we put ourselves into unpreceden­ted confusion with the planned merger, we should do away with the thinking in the consultant’s proposal that there is a precedent for a merger between airport service providers and airspace service providers in some countries.”

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