Oransanye Report: Merger of Aviation Agencies’ll Spell Disaster, Stakeholders Tell FG

The aviation industry was thrown into a frenzy last week when President Bola Ahmed Tinubu directed the implementation of the Stephen Orosanye report which recommended the merging, scrapping and subsuming of government agencies.

Not a few thought that the Federal Government had jettisoned the controversial decision to merge many of the Ministry, Department, or Agency (MDAs) to save costs.

Since the announcement, workers in the aviation industry have begun to fret over the plan by the Federal Government to implement the Stephen Oronsaye report that would merge about 102 Federal Government Agencies.

Some workers said although aviation is not part of agencies that had been approved for the merger, workers in the aviation industry are on edge as they do not want to be caught unawares and indicated their desire to protest should the Federal Government go ahead to add aviation to the list.

The 800-page report recommended the abolishment and merging of 102 government agencies and parastatals.

However, some top officials who spoke to Aviation Metric under strict condition of anonymity because of fear of reprimand said the decision would bring back the sector to the old days when aircraft were falling from the sky because of regulatory overlaps with other bodies fused with an agency that should have been saddled with just regulatory oversight.

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Some stakeholders spoke in a similar vein, saying what the Federal Government intends to save by merging the agencies, it would lose enormously with the dwindling fortune of the sector after the merger and going against international aviation bodies which saw the need to separate aviation regulation from service provision.

Some others who spoke to our correspondent disclosed that the aviation agencies have distinct functions each performs to guarantee safety. Merging the agencies would bring confusion and endanger air safety.

The Orosanye White Paper which was accepted recommended that the trio of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) be merged into a new body to be known as the Federal Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA) and their respective enabling laws amended accordingly to reflect the merger.

The White Paper equally recommended that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) be privatised without further delay. This recommendation was rejected given the security situation in the country.

The White Paper also recommended that the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) now the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) be developed into a unified accident investigation bureau for the entire transport sector. This recommendation was rejected.

One of them said, “I don’t know why other aviation stakeholders and aviation professionals are not talking particularly pilots, air traffic controllers, and aircraft safety engineers. Federal Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA) was tried as both service provider and regular in the early 1990s, and it was a disaster.”

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“The negative effects of that faulty decision manifested in 2004-2006 when aeroplanes started dropping out of the sky due to weak and ineffective regulatory activities over the airline operators. The airlines became self-regulated. It was a disaster which must not be allowed to repeat itself”.

They called on the Federal Government to save the aviation industry by strengthening and empowering the NCAA and not burying it and replacing it with potential air disasters.

Aviation consultant, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo described the report if implemented as unfavourable, archaic and capable of dragging the industry backwards with attendant loss of confidence and increased cost of operation.

“I will not want to bore the public again with ICAO rules of engagement, other writers have dwelt on that since the report became public, while our representatives in the different international organisations can also use their instrument of office overtly or covertly to pass the message on ICAO statutes and other working materials to the Federal Government”.

“The regulator and service provider cannot be under one roof or management. This, in essence, makes a mockery of regulation and certification. The international community has applauded our development and strides; we do not need the Oransanye report to drag us back”.

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Former President, of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Mohammed Safiyanu said the purported approval to merge NCAA, NAMA and NIMET would compromise safety and security,

A former President, of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Mohammed Safiyanu, also said the proposal to merge NCAA, NAMA and NIMET would compromise safety and security.

Top among the agencies are Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Ajaokuta Steel Company and National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO).

These agencies are followed by the National Salaries and Wages Commission; Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission; Infrastructure Concessionary and Regulatory Commission; EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau; Fiscal Responsibility Commission; National Board for Technical Education; National Commission for Colleges of Education; Federal Character Commission; Gurara Water Management Authority (GWMA); Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC); National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA); Commercial Law Department; and Centre for Automotive Design and Development (CADD).

Wole Shadare