Last year, the federal ministry of Aviation and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) effected a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to rid the aviation sector of its multifaceted and viral corruption, currently bedevilling the industry and depleting quality services and growth of the sector.
However, the terms of the MOU remained vague, as the obvious aspects got reduced to seminars and talk shops organised by some parastatals in the ministry in collaboration with the ICPC.
The call for genuine action plan to check corruption in the aviation sector was however re-echoed recently by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) at different industry fora.
While the NATCA at its 44th annual general meeting and conference held in Akure, Ondo State at the weekend, called on the federal government to reduce corruption and wastages in the system by extending the current probe in the oil industry to the aviation sector, the UNDP at an inception meeting for aviation stakeholders on Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) project held at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Annex training centre in Lagos joined other stakeholders to urge the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to take concerted efforts to exterminate corruption from the aviation industry.
Delivering her keynote address, the permanent secretary of the ministry of Aviation, Hajia Binta Bello also said, as part of the overall efforts to engender growth, confidence and transparency in the aviation industry, it was imperative to collaborate with the ICPC to drastically reduce the incidents of corruption in the sector.
Bello the MOU between the ministry and the ICPC signed in 2014 was meant to ensure continuous and sustained deployment of ICPC staff to maintain surveillance at the major airports and infusion of ethical values into professional practices of stakeholders in the aviation sector.
Other ingredients of the anti-corruption MOU, according to her, include mandatory training at ICPC academy on ethics, professional standards, moral values for officials in the industry and installation of ICPC facilities such as CCTV cameras for the detection of corrupt officers.
“This collaboration has reduced the activities of touts at the Lagos and Abuja International airports. We want to urge the ICPC to sustain the tempo of its surveillance activities at the nation’s airports,” she said.
The director-general of NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman, in his remark said that the Corruption Risk Assessment was to examine the procedure, manuals and other documents of the relevant agencies in a view to identifying corruption.
The NCAA boss further expresses his support and revealed that four officers are members of Anti-Corruption Transparency Unit, and two had undergone training on anti-corruption crusade.
Chairman of the anti-corruption agency, Mr. Ekpo Nta, at the CRA inception meeting, called for commitment from all Nigerians to make this anti-corruption drive a success.
However, the president of NATCA Mr Victor Eyaru called for the restructuring of various aviation agencies in the country in line with the primary functions enshrined in the particular Acts establishing them.
Eyaru said restructuring would reduce the bearing of unnecessary burdens of duplication of departments and directorates as against the originally designed structures.
According to him, air traffic controllers formed only 12 per cent of the total staff strength of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) as against 45 and 70 per cent for other sister organisation outside the country, saying it was the reason for paucity of fund in the agency which is slowing the timely renewal of facilities and training of core aviation professionals in statutory areas to ensure proficiency in air safety.
Source : Leadership