Few weeks after the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made some deployments, postings and promotions in the Agencies, controversy has rocked that of Director of Human Resources, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)
But many experts say the controversy is uncalled for because the Minister’s action was a normal thing in the civil service system.
Commenting on the resistance by the Director of Human Resources in FAAN, Hajia Salamatu Umar Elumah to move to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), where the Ministry deployed her to recently, stakeholders say there are more issues to be discussed in the sector other than a mere deployment which even take place in Authorities bigger than FAAN.
Elumah, who was posted to the Bureau as part of the re-organisation in the industry has resisted the posting and petitioned the Presidency and rather than move to her now office chose to go on leave without pay.
However, Elumah had in a petition to the Presidency, kicking against the deployment, alleged that she was being victimized by the Minister who allegedly singled her out for denigration.
But industry observers and labour union officials have contrary view about her protest.
An official of Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) said the association was disappointed with Mrs. Elumah’s protest against her deployment, saying that it was normal process, which participated.
“She should follow the civil service rules or resign. This is not the first time that people were deployed. Even in the past she played roles in the sack and deployment of some staff and heaven did not fall.
“Mrs. Elumah has thrown her weight so much, if she is allowed to have her way now a bad precedence will be laid which in future will be deterrent to the industry,” said ATSSSAN official.
Also some industry officials noted that similar reorganisation has just taken place in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and nobody is questioning government’s decision.
“So despite her connections and powers, she should simply obey civil service rules because she cannot rewrite a system that has been there over the years, which she also benefited from,” a FAAN official said.
However, the secretary of Aviation Round Table (ART) and former Commandant of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Grp. Capt. John Ojikutu, said he was miffed by the controversy going on over trivial issues about deployment and promotion in the industry, which is a normal in civil service system.
“Why can’t we discuss issues about the airport certification and the NCAA reclassification? Why can’t we be discussing about airlines travails and the incursions of foreign airlines into our domestic routes? Why can’t we be discussing about the recurring debts of our airlines? Why can’t we situate the NCAA reported tickets scales earnings with the IATA revelation that air transport contributes over $8.2bn or N4.5trn to our GDP? These are issues for me and you and not the deployment or sacking of some individuals,” he said.
Sources from the Minister of State, Aviation , Senator Sirika said that for the very first time in the industry the unions did not kick against the recent re-organisation in the industry because the Minister did the right thing by promoting those who needed to be promoted and who had put in years working for the agencies, “So it is round pegs that were put in the right holes.
According to the source, the Minster had decided not to comment on the controversy surrounding the deployment of Mrs. Elumah, “but he will talk when the right time comes.”