May 15, 2021

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LAMENTATION OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS DENIED TRAINING TO CATCH UP WITH GLOBAL STANDARDS

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LEFT: M. Pwajok, representing MD, NAMA, Capt F. Akinkuotu, President NAAPE, Engr G. Abednego, President NATCA, Comrade A. Agoro, Capt Roberts, President Flight Crew Association, DG, NCAA, Capt Nuhu Musa

Air Traffic Controllers, ATCs, in Nigeria have appealed to the management of Nigerian Airspace Managemen Agency, NAMA, to rethink its training policy which is skewed in favour of support staff against the technical and operational staff of the agency.


The President of Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association, NATCA, Comrade Abayomi Agoro, made the fervent appeal at the second edition of the annual Air Traffic Controllers, Pilots and Engineers forum, held at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, annexe, Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.


In the gathering which comprised of representative of the Minister of aviation, Engr Akin Olateru, Chief Executive/Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, the new Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Capt Nuhu Musa, representative of the Managing Director, NAMA, Mr Matthew Pwajok; Comrade Agoro warned that the present trend in managing statutory training of technical and the core staff needed a drastic change for the agency to rightly deliver on its mandate.


Agoro argued that ‘’ NAMA with all due respect has not been able to deliver on her core operational training. We are all living witnesses to the very fact that Technical and Operational trainings for relevant personnel have not been given the much needed attention they deserve’’


He disclosed that ‘’ironically, priority attention is continuously being given to support staff. The training fund allotted to technical/operational staff is grossly inadequate while NAMA expend a lot to train support staff on administrative courses abroad’’


He lamented that the few pieces of training that ever came the way of Air Traffic Controllers, ATCOs, were grossly inadequate to meet the set target as many ATCOs hardly go for On –The-Job-Trainings, OJT, as at when due, for various reasons such as the paucity of funds.


Comrade Agoro, however, sounded a word of caution to the management of NAMA by describing its modus operandi as, ‘’an unwholesome development and if care is not taken the widening gap in what is supposed to be a regular training program could ultimately jeopardize safety and impair our ICAO/FAA ratings’’


The tripartite forum was themed, ‘’Airport Collaborative Decision Making, Capacity Building And Planning As Catalysts for aviation Safety’’.


Responding to the sordid condition in the training and retraining aspects, the Director General, NCAA, Capt Nuhu Musa, said training in aviation is a sacred duty and cannot be sacrificed for anything as the regulatory organization could only succeed when its manpower is up to date on the modern methods of their task and execute them without fear or favour.


Also speaking, the representative of the aviation Minister, Engr Akin Olateru, urged the organizer to widely circulate their communiqué and make it a personal duty to do a follow up by approaching any particular organization, company, body or agency that had open items, and both agreed on an action plan to close them.


Olateru said the parley will be more meaningful when the outcomes were made to cascade to the particularly concern body or organization with proactive measures, only then could progress be recorded as all concern would be compelled to make efforts at closing the opened items and where there is a challenge, everybody would be aware of what the hindrances are.


President of the Flight Crew Association, Capt Roberts said most often the challenge is errors which either could be active or latent. He noted that too often attention is accorded to active errors rather than the latent errors. He urged the flight crew and the airlines’ leadership to be more proactive by training their crew to be better competent in managing challenges efficiently and professionally.


Engr Galadima Abednego, President, National Association of Aircraft Pilots And Engineers, NAAPE, said the safety record the nation had attained was a credit to all stakeholders and the association is pleased for its attainment and would only be glad to witness improvement from the five years record of air safety.


He said by the fact of the safety standard in commercial flight operation in Nigeria, NAAPE planned to recognize major players and bestow on them an award as the token of appreciation for their respective roles in attaining the enviable record.

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