..It’s Not True, Says Minister
A power tussle is presently rocking the hierarchy of the aviation ministry as a result of alleged gross insubordination. Trouble began when the present Permanent Secretary Mrs. Shua’ra Jamila resumed and stopped all earlier financial approvals made by the former aviation minister, Princess Stella Oduah and declined to pay all approved financial allowances and dues.
She was however besieged by the ministry’s union leaders on the need to pay the approved allowances and dues. It was learnt that after much pressure the Perm Sec agreed and assured the union leaders that she will pay but not all, especially those before 2013.
Investigation revealed that the supervising minister, Dr Samuel Ortom got wind of the workers ordeal and intervened to calm down the angry workers, but the Perm Sec has declined to pay the approved financial obligations as at the time of filling this report.
It was also gathered that recently Dr. Ortom approved re currency training for the staff of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria but Mrs. Jamila turned down the approval declaring that the federal government has stopped training of personnel abroad. She bluntly refused to convey approval as directed by the hon. minister. A training which is not only budgeted for but had earlier gotten approval of the former minister but was brought to the current for re-validation of approval.
It was further learnt that the Perm Sec from all indications came in to the ministry with the notion that federal government has banned foreign trainings but this is not applicable to the aviation industry because training in the industry are mostly re-currency in nature done abroad due to the sensitive nature of the sector.
Some aviation staff who spoke under condition of anonymity on the issue blamed the unfolding tussle what the claim may be the Perm Sec’s inexperience on aviation matters.
It was learnt that the ministry would have by now been engulfed in serious crisis but for the mature way the minister has handled the situation.
The unions in the ministry it was gathered, are ready and mobilising for a show down with the Perm Sec as a result of her refusal to approve and release the staff training for both local and foreign training.
But as the speculations over the rift within gathered momentum, the minister has interesting risen in defence of the perm sec. The Supervising Minister of Aviation Chief Samuel Ortom has said that it was just mere allegations that the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Aviation, Mrs. Shua’ra Jamila, was sitting on approvals to contractors and stalling remodelling efforts at the various airports across the country.
The minister also described as false speculation that the Permanent Secretary brazenly violates his directives.
Chief Ortom who spoke to journalists shortly after inspecting facilities at the Makurdi Airport terminal and perishable cargo terminal said that the report in the media is false as the Permanent Secretary, to his knowledge, isn’t sitting on any contractor’s funds.
“Let me use this opportunity to say that the recent insinuation from some members of the public and the media that the Permanent Secretary of the ministry of aviation Mrs. Shua’ra Jamila is frustrating the remodelling exercise of the aviation industry is not true. There is no iota of truth in those assertions” he said.
He explained that when president Goodluck Jonathan signs the 2014 Appropriation Bill and funds released to the Ministry, the projects will go on.
“I’m the minister supervising aviation ministry for now and I’m also aware that the projects are captured in the 2014 Appropriation Bill that is awaiting assent. As soon as that is done, we will continue work so no money is being held by the permanent secretary and no one frustrating anything” he emphasised.
“I’m on top of the situation in the ministry of aviation. I haven’t seen any form of insubordination from my Permanent Secretary. Whatever issues we have, we resolve them as a family in the ministry” he noted.
All efforts to get union leaders’ comments on the development, proved abortive as they declined comment on the issue but one of them who pleaded anonymity said any attempt by the perm sec to cripple the aviation sector in the country, will be resisted and they will make the ministry ungovernable for Mrs Jamila