By Sade Williams
The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), said on Monday that it did violate extant rules on the secondment of Mr Benjamin Okewu, who is also the President of Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN) from the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria to the Bureau.
The AIB is reacting to reports from a petition by National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) raising dusts over Okewu’s placement or ‘elevation’.
Tunji Oketunbi, AIB spokesman in a statement, explained that secondment was a normal thing in civil service adding that even the salary structure of NCAT is different from that of regular civil service.
According to him, ‘AIB management is constrained to respond to set the records straight. In the first instance, secondment is a normal exercise in the civil service. Mr Okewu was not placed in an underserved position even as the management has not violated extant rules on secondment.
“If the authors of the petition had done their home work, they would have realised that the salary structure of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria is different from that of the regular civil service. NCAT is part of the tertiary education salary structure where the highest grade level is CONTEDIS 15 for a director while the civil service salary structure, which AIB operates terminates at Grade Level 17 for a General Manager.
“Besides, Mr Okewu was due for promotion as at January 2016. AIB cannot promote him but only asked him to cover the duties of the Head of Human Resources in acting capacity as AGM (GL 15 or CONTEDIS 13). Moving into Human Resources from planning background in addition to his immense experience in industrial relations is a plus for his new assignment”, he said.
He however said that ‘the management frowns at NAAPE meddling in the internal affairs of AIB, urging it ‘to concentrate on working for the improvement of its members’ welfare.
“Trade unions should not fan embers of disunity but work for cohesion and team work in establishments where they are represented”, he added.