Unions urge FG to reconsider decision to merge aviation agencies

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Four workers’ unions on Thursday appealed to the Federal Government to reconsider the decision to merge three agencies in the aviation sector.

The unions were reacting to the government’s decision to merge the agencies in line with the Mr Steve Oronsaye-led Committee report on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies

According to the unions, the merger of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) will take the sector backwards.

The unions which gave their positions in a joint statement include the National Union of Air Transport Employees, (NUATE) and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN).

Others are the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, (AUPCTRE), and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

In the statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the unions claimed that the merger could reverse all the progress made over the years.

“Surely, this cannot be the desire of government,’’ the unions said.

According to the unions, the merger is against the principles of the Chicago Convention to which Nigeria is a signatory and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommendations.

The unions said the ICAO document 9734 (Safety Oversight Manual) stated that “in accordance with this convention, a state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory.

“Nevertheless, on adhering to the convention, states agree to certain principles and arrangements in order that international civil aviation may be developed in a safe and orderly manner.

“The safe and orderly development of international civil aviation requires that all civil aviation operations be conducted under internationally accepted minimum operating standards, procedures and practises.”

The unions said that ICAO emphasised that the autonomy of the air navigation service provider and its separation from the regulatory oversight function was well established in ICAO guidance material.

“Separation of Air Navigation Service provision from the Regulatory oversight function enhances Air Traffic Management performance and instils public confidence in the Air Navigation Service Provider and the services it provides.

“Separation of provision from regulation is consistent with principles of good governance; the regulatory oversight function must be seen as independent and transparent,” the unions said.

They called on the government to step down the merger of the agencies and to allow them to remain as they were since they functioned in conformity with ICAO minimum standards. (NAN)

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