The General Secretary of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Francis Akinjole, has said that one of the major problems that led to the fall of Nigeria air was the lack of transparency
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Thursday, he revealed that the union was not surprised at the way the situation with Nigeria Air turned out, as within themselves, they had noted that there had been holes in the project, however, their concerns were not addressed.
Akinjole said, “Nigeria Air should be a laudable project, but we have always been saying something, and what is that? Transparency in everything that the recent past minister is doing to turn to vision round into positive endeavours. The secrecy involved in all this has been our albatross. So, we have always maintained a stance, as unions, not even only in ASSSAN that many things are in the opaque, are not very clear to us.”
He went on to say that as an individual and within the union, he had no issues whatsoever with Nigeria Air. However, the issues were with the way that Nigeria Air was handled as he said, “I think what is appropriate to cover it up is lack of transparency, and I want to presume that there must be reasons for that… why has there not been transparency at every stage of the project?”
Going further to explain how the previous administration were not open with the dealings of Nigeria Air, he said, “There are stages in the process of bringing things onboard. The first stage is the concession, which they can take prerogative of. After which the OBCs are supposed to be released. Till now, the unions never saw the OBC in the Nigeria Air project, but we got in the concession.
“Other stakeholders that are directly involved, for example the Airline Operators of Nigeria, they are supposed to be availed the OBC for them to do an X-Ray of it. Whether they did this or not, I am not aware. Procurement process is supposed to be fully advertised in line with the policy of the ICRC. It’s supposed to be known to all Nigerians … I cannot say that Nigerians will say that they are aware of this.
“It became a public knowledge an agency of government was being coerced to issue AOC to this Nigeria Air until when those that were saddled with this responsibility in NCAA to be specific threatened to resign their appointments if they were forced to issue this AOC. It had to die down.”
He then said that the incoming administration should provide an enabling environment for investors to “come up and exhibit their nationalism,” as the nation had more than enough capacity to have a Nigerian airline.
He said that if the enabling environment was provided for other local operators, it will be seen that no foreign investors were needed.
He suggested that the Nigeria Air project be suspended, and government should focus on creating a better environment for private airlines to thrive.