BY LAWANI MIKAIRU
LAGOS – The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, yesterday ordered Air Nigeria Airline to suspend its flights and operations to enable the authority carry out a proper audit and check on the airline.
This came barely five days after Air Nigeria resumed flight operations due to the one week strike by its pilots and aeronautic engineers under the auspices of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE.
The Media Assistant to the Director General of NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, who confirmed the suspension said it was a routine action to allow NCAA look at the airline.
According to him, “it is a routine action to enable us look at them before allowing them to go back to operations having being on strike for days, this is normal”
It will be recalled that NAAPE had alleged that the management of the airline not only delayed the salaries of both local and foreign staff but the pension money which the airline deducted from salaries was never remitted for seven months.
Other grievances the body protested against are tax refund and tax clearance issues, non remittance of co-operative deductions, unresolved staff travel and the engineering tier system that is still pending.
The decision to suspend the airline’s operations may also not be unconnected with allegations by its former Executive Director for Finance, Mr John Nnorom, that planes in the airline’s fleet are not properly maintained.
The President of NAAPE, Isaac Balami last week told newsmen that NAAPE did not embark on strike for safety reasons but for the welfare of its members, adding that the body had called off the strike that lasted for close to eight days, after the body reached an agreement with the management and that the issues in dispute had been resolved.