ByÂ Oamen Godsave
LAGOSâ€”THE Aviation Minister, Mr. Babatunde Omotoba, has charged managers of the nationâ€™s aviation industry to focus their attention on training of more women for consistency and sustainability of the sector.
Omotoba, who was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, said that remained one potent way the industry could be moved forward.
He said the ratio between men and women in the sub-sector was too high, but promised that it would be bridged soon, as more women were now being given attention.
The minister said:Â â€œNCAA has lost some of their good hands to other countries that are ready to pay well thanÂ us.â€œIf this is allowed to continue, a time will come when we will not have capable hands again in the sector. We have devised a mean to grow the industry by investing more on women.
â€œWe discovered that when you invest in women, there is every possibility that they will stay behind to grow the industry because they are not just wives but mothers who will want to ensure that they stay very close to their families.
I appeal to some of my colleagues to equally invest more in women so that we can move forward in the industry.
â€œIn every area of aviation we have more men than women. The only area we have more women than men is in the cabin crew but we still need them more in aviation matters. We are ready to encourage professionalism and that we will do.
The goal of NCAA is zero accident, zero fatalities and carbon clean environment. I am urging women to join us in achieving this goal.â€
In her keynote address, the former Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Kema Chikwe, noted that women should hold more sensitive positions in the industry as they have proved overtime that they are equal to men in all ramifications.
Chikwe who was represented at the occasion by a director in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Nnena Kalejaye recalled that during her time as the minister in the sector, she encouraged the appointment of female directors in some of the agencies who she said are still performing creditably well in the sector.
â€œIn the security department of FAAN, I made sure a female chief of security was appointed at the international airport because of my firm belief that a woman was needed to bring sanity to the airport. I also recall upgrading the aviation training school where mostly woman were in charge. I personally attended a couple of their training programmes and the reports I got concerning the training school even after I left the ministry remained favourable.
She commended women for the formation of the association in the country in spite of their tight schedules and urged them to use the platform to make an impact in the countryâ€™s aviation industry, adding that the only way they would continue to excel in their profession was for them to continue to liaise with more experienced colleagues.
Mrs. Helen Schrader of the American embassy in Nigeria noted that women in aviation is an appropriate forum for advocating democracy and good governance not just in the country but in the world over, saying that aviation is an international business.
Schrader emphasised that the forum met the criteria of being the risk-takers, doers and makers, stressing that no woman who has made a career in aviation lacks courage.