Former minister of Aviation, Air Vice Marshal Anthony Okpere (retd) says, unless the country spend money in acquiring equipment and training of personnel, the lives of people and that of the industry will be in danger.
This is just as he called for adequate funding of facilities, and training of personnel to further enhance safety in the sector.
Reacting to the issue of shortage of personnel in the aviation industry, AVM Okpere noted that, except the gap in the sector between those retiring and serving personnel was bridged, the industry would experience a lot of problems.
“The job they are doing is so important, except they are find a way to bridge that gap, we will soon have problems. We talk about modern means of communications, except we spend money, the lives of people and the industry is in danger”.
He called for fairness and professionalism in the recruitment of aviation personnel, avoid ethnicity and favoritism, uphold competence and efficiency.
“Please lets open and hearts and minds and work for Nigeria and treat everybody the same irrespective where we come from. When you begin to think A is from my place and B is from my place, therefore when you get to a position you are sacrificing competence. No matter the numbers if degrees we have experience matters, what we learn through experience, you cannot learn Ina classroom”.
The Former Minister lamented that many people have become experts in the industry especially when there was a plane crash, stressing that, this was not good for the industry.
AVM Okpere recalled in 1987 how the ministry took off with only three staff after he drafted the Decree that set up the various agencies in the sector that gave rise to Federal Civil Aviation Authority.
“The people I handed over to, tried to do their best but there were a lot of problems because there were certain things to things they did not understand we put them down. Being not aviators and not conversant with rules and regulations of aviation and no minister since then ever invited me to come to the ministry to explain the rationale behind any of the decisions taken”.
“I decided to stay quietly on my own because you don’t pour water on the back of a stone, it doesn’t sink. My opinion does not matter, so, I keep myself shut”.