Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has executed a comprehensive removal of 33 directors within his ministry. Aviation experts have characterized this move as a thorough reversal of the late-stage appointments made by the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari under the leadership of Senator Hadi Sirika as the Minister of Aviation,Daily Trust rports.
In a surprising turn of events, the 33 directors, appointed just a week before the end of the Buhari administration on May 23, 2023, were relieved of their positions in a major shake-up. The appointments, which included a new managing director for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), also introduced previously nonexistent directorates in various agencies.
The decision to dismiss these appointees comes six months later, catching even those affected off guard. The removal of chief executives of aviation agencies was similarly executed without prior notice, with many of them discovering their sack through media reports while abroad.
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President Tinubu, through a statement by the Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, sanctioned the suspension, removal, and replacement of the chief executive officers of several agencies under the aviation ministry, including FAAN, NCAA, NAMA, NSIB, NIMET, and NCAT.
The unexpected overhaul saw the replacement of key figures, such as Kabir Yusuf Mohammed of FAAN, Tayib Adetunji Odunowo of NAMA, Engr. Akinola Olateru of NSIB, Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu of NIMET, and Capt. Alkali Mahmud Modibbo of NCAT.
The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, was suspended, and Capt. Chris Najomo assumed office as the Acting DG. The announcement left those affected by the changes astonished, especially as many of them were attending international events with the minister, unaware of the imminent developments.
In a subsequent statement by the aviation ministry, directors were instructed to hand over their responsibilities to the most senior officers in their respective departments or directorates. This move has sparked mixed reactions within the industry, with stakeholders divided over the government’s “reorganization.”
Some industry figures, such as former FAAN general manager Alhaji Abubakar Bibi, commended Minister Keyamo for taking bold steps to reorganize the sector. Others, like union leader Comrade Olayinka Abioye, expressed sadness for those affected but acknowledged that the mass sack was anticipated, considering the last-minute appointments made by the previous administration. The unions vowed to scrutinize the new appointees and urged the minister to ensure fairness in the selection process.