Aviation unions and other stakeholders have faulted the recruitment criteria used by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), alleging that it was skewed in favour of a section of the country, instead of reflecting the federal character.
The recruitment was aimed at closing the gap in FAAN’s Aerodrome Fire Rescue Safety and Aviation Security Unit.
The unions claim that the choice of Kaduna as centre for the recruitment was not only wrong, but also a grand plan to pave the way for candidates from a section of the country.
The unions, in a petition dated June 28, signed by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) Secretary-General, Ocheme Abah, and sent to the Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Hamisu Yadudu, raised the alarm over what they called “scandalised level of disconnection from the public civil service rules and disregard for technical, safety and security requirements”.
NUATE noted that the catchment areas provision in the civil service rule for lower cadre employees was jettisoned while the maximum age requirement for recruitment was thrown overboard as well as technical and physical fitness.
NUATE expressed the fear that strides achieved over the years in the sector would be rubbished by what it described as ‘’unpatriotic and diabolical’ aim being foisted by vested interest in FAAN.
The union called for a halt of the exercise to allow for a review and bring sanity to the system.
The petition read: ”Investigation revealed that the recruitment was marred by irregularities as politicians hijacked the exercise by forcing on the agency more than half of the people that turned out for the exercise.
‘’Some stakeholders queried the choice of Kaduna for the recruitment exercise. Other unions in the industry are to meet during the week to decide on their next line of action on the matter.”
The Nation learned that the over 300 persons shortlisted by the authority to close gaps are getting curious over alleged attempts by the Ministry of Aviation to supplant names from a section of the country on the alleged orders of officials of the Aviation Ministry.
Sources hinted that some forces loyal to the ministry replaced the names of candidates billed for training in Kaduna to ascertain their fitness for the job with their people.
The ministry, it was learned, had positioned some candidates for the job, in a move suspected to be a usurpation of the responsibilities of FAAN.
Aviation stakeholders and unions, it was learned, were kicking over the exercise because they alleged it is skewed against the interest of qualified candidates. They alleged that qualifying for the training in Kaduna was not a criterion for getting the job.
They claim that the Ministry had pulled many candidates from various organisations, especially people from a particular section of the country, into the training to push for their qualification.
Experts say recruitment into sensitive units in aviation, including aerodrome safety and fire-fighting units as well as aviation security, should be based on background checks on the would-be candidates, rather than filling the list with people from certain parts of the country.
Silence pervades FAAN on this matter. Officials contacted by this reporter declined to comment.
FAAN, in 2017, inaugurated 107 Aviation Security(AVSEC) and 109 Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS).
The personnel recruited were expected to complement security at the airports and beef up the capacity of the fire-fighting arm of the agency.
Over 1,000 additional aviation security and aerodrome rescue fire- fighting personnel are said to be needed in the unit to cover the gap created following the retirement of the aging workforce.