Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo has sacked 33 directors under his ministry.
Aviation experts on Thursday described the development as a “clean sweep and reversal of the last-minute appointments” made by the immediate past administration of President Muhammadu Buhari when Senator Hadi Sirika was minister of Aviation.
Sirika, on May 23, 2023, a week before the expiration of the Buhari administration, appointed 33 directors and also appointed a new managing director for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
He also created directorates that were hitherto non-existent in all the agencies.
But six months later, all the appointees have been sacked in a major shake-up that caught even those affected unawares.
This came a few hours after chief executives of aviation agencies were relieved of their appointments without prior knowledge of their impending sack.
Daily Trust learnt that most of the Chief Executive Officers were outside the country when the announcement was made and read about their sack on newspaper pages or on social media. Two different events were held outside the country last week with the ministers and the agencies’ heads in attendance.
The first was the 15th International Civil Aviation Negotiation Event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and then the ICAO meeting in Canada.
President Tinubu on Wednesday, December 14, through a statement by the Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, approved the suspension, removal and replacement of the chief executive officers of the agencies under the aviation ministry.
The agencies are FAAN, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), NAMA, Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).
Kabir Yusuf Mohammed of FAAN was replaced with Mrs Olubunmi Oluwaseun Kuku; NAMA’s Tayib Adetunji Odunowo was replaced with Engr. Umar Ahmed Farouk; NSIB’s Engr. Akinola Olateru was replaced by Mr. Alex Badeh Jr. as the substantive Director-General while NIMET’s DG, Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu, was replaced with Prof. Charles Anosike, and NCAT Rector, Capt. Alkali Mahmud Modibbo was replaced by Mr. Joseph Shaka Imalighwe as Acting Rector. The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, was suspended from office while Capt. Chris Najomo assumes office as the Acting DG.
“Nobody saw it coming,” a source in one of the agencies said.
The Minister of Aviation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, was at a conference of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) along with all the agencies’ CEOs last week.
“None of them had the inkling that their sack would be this soon,” another source said.