Aviation Industry Shake-Up  Brews Crisis In Buhari’s Family

  • Aviation Industry Shake-Up  Brews Crisis In Buhari’s Family
    Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika

    As Sirika appoints 59-years old car seller as Director at FAAN

  • Demotes Aisha Buhari’s pal, Salamatu
  • Aisha Buhari threatens to strike
  • FAAN MD still on EFCC probe list

By Kenneth Jukpor & Nkem Osuagwu

As President Mohammadu Buhari settles down to work from his home after several months of treatment in London, his family has been thrown into commotion with the recent redeployment and inter-agency transfer of some top management staff in the government agencies in the Aviation industry, with Aisha Buhari’s close friend, Hajia Salamatu Eluma, Director, Human Resources at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) transferred to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), and replaced by a 59-year old motor seller, Mr. Anozie Norris.

The Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had approved the redeployments in a press release that described the action as part of efforts to reposition aviation agencies and clear the massive promotion backlogs in the agencies, with the belief that a well-motivated workforce would result in improved service delivery and optimum productivity.

According to the Minister, the approval has been given in order to fill vacancies which had been created as a result of earlier promotions, retirements and reliefs, and to further boost the morale of members of staff of the agencies which had been stagnated over time.

However, our sources at the ministry of transport have described the events as part of the tussle for power between the Aisha Buhari and the President Buhari’s inner kitchen cabinet members which includes the Aviation Minister, Sirika, even as sources at the Aviation agencies have described this as a victimization against an innocent career civil-servant, who got into the system through sheer hardwork and rose through the ranks to the position she is occupying today.

MMS Plus gathered that Salamatu was the main target of the “so called restructuring exercise” at the agencies as it was orchestrated to spite the First Lady, who has been a friend of Salamatu  Eluma for over 12years.

According to the press release, “Also, a new Director, Human Resources, Mr. Anozie Norris has been appointed for the Authority. He replaces Hajia Salamatu Eluma who has been redeployed to the AIB as Director, Human Resources”

Consequently, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari was said to have referred to this reshuffling as part of efforts by the “hyenas and jackals” in her husband’s administration to create problems in her family and reduce her influence in certain quarters. She also stated that the battle-line had been drawn between her and the Aviation Minister.

However, it is also strange to see that Salamatu’s replacement at FAAN is a 59-year old man, Mr. Norris Anozie, who is only a car dealer and his highest work experience was owning a company that bought accidented cars, repaired and re-sold them. Anozie has no work experience in any reputable private or public establishment.

A top management staff at FAAN said, “The man they brought to replace Hajia Salamatu is a car dealer from America. The truth is that FAAN is an organization established with an Act while the other organization, AIB is entirely a different organization. Again, as a career officer who has become pensionable, who grew through the ranks to where she is today, it is not right to just move her out of the place. I don’t know what is pushing the Aviation Minister to make such changes and the replacement is wrong”.

The source also disclosed that Mr. Norris has been asking members of staff how to operate the office because he had no experience to operate in such position.

It is also strange that Anozie, whose Curriculum Vitae (CV) says he was born August 7, 1958, has less than one year to serve at FAAN as official civil-service retirement age in Nigeria is 60years.

As a technician, part of Mr. Anozie’s achievements highlighted on his CV include, “managed and coordinated inventory supply and purchases of personal computers (PC) and laser printer parts and consumables. He was also directly accountable for the upkeep and maintenance of personal computers, desktops and printers for Blue Cross Blue Shield, Texas.”

Considering his experience with fixing accidented vehicles, one of MMS Plus sources at FAAN has suggested that Norris be sent to AIB where the accidented skill-sets he possesses could be relevant.

When contacted to react to the new development, Salamatu told MMS Plus that she was on her one-month annual leave, noting that the development was, “a display of wickedness and I know that God is still there. This is intimidation and God would deal with all of them involved. The truth is that AIB is not for me. It isn’t like I am disobeying their order but I am not supposed to be at AIB.”

Meanwhile, some online media platforms have been brandishing stories that Salamatu demanded a one-year leave to study abroad as she refused to move to AIB.

Reacting to this Salamatu told MMS Plus, that she never demanded a one-year leave to study abroad as she only demanded a one-month annual leave which the Managing Director, Saleh Dunoma responded by asking her to resume at AIB first but she maintained that she earned the leave at FAAN and pleaded with him to reconsider his stand on the leave. She also noted that she has no plans to resume at AIB.

“What manner of restructuring would make you remove someone who is already knowledgeable and replace the person with someone without any experience? Norris only worked as a technician for a company and after that, he had a company where he was buying accidented cars, repairing them and selling. You can see this on his CV; even if he was the friend of the Minister and he wanted to give him a position why should it be such sensitive position” Salamatu queried.

Recalling her journey into FAAN, she said, “I applied into FAAN through Anderson Consulting firm in response to an advertisement on a national daily and I did my interview and was employed into FAAN. Even when I got the employment letter, I asked that they should give me three months because I was working in Sheraton and I was committed to a major programme and I couldn’t just dump it. It was after three months that I resumed and I grew through the ranks and developed my passion and everything around this organization which is a pensionable organization and then suddenly because of too-much show of power someone wants to send me down the drain and dump me somewhere.” She said it is a clear victimization because she is a friend of Aisha Buhari..

Meanwhile, MMS Plus investigations also revealed that most of the recent appointments at FAAN and other Aviation agencies have been the Aviation Minister’s friends or relatives and aside the Director of Finance at FAAN, who is polished and was once a commissioner of his state, every other person was said not to have the requisite qualification for the position given.

“You can see the level of illegality in the recent appointments because every single person is either the Aviation Minister’s friend or his relative and it is the same in the other agencies”, a source in FAAN confirmed.

“The Managing Director is working with the Aviation Minister and they see Salamatu as a threat; but I don’t think she has done anything against the Managing Director and she protects his interest and image in the public domain. You don’t just victimize people because you know somebody in Abuja.” The source added.

“Sirika doesn’t listen to Amaechi and Amaechi has just decided to leave him to do whatever he wants to do in the Aviation industry. Sometimes, he doesn’t talk to Amaechi. You know how responsible a  man he is. He was chasing the President’s daughter, who is married but the girl is responsible and she showed the text messages to her husband and her father. Sirika isn’t related to Buhari as people think, they are just from the same Katsina State but they are not related” the source disclosed.

On Aisha Buhari’s possible reaction to the developments, the source said, “You know the First Lady is very vocal and always on the side of the masses especially when the administration is going on against what they promised Nigerians. She has always been fighting these cabals because what they are projecting is not who the husband, the President is. You can be sure that there would be a rumble”

Meanwhile, as part of the reasons for rejecting the transfer, Salamatu recalled that Mrs. Elizabeth Agom a former Director at FAAN was transferred to AIB and retired in 2003, but has been unable to get any retirement benefit or pension since 2003. Little wonder Aviation stakeholders refer to AIB as a kitchen organization.

When contacted to react to the controversial transfers at FAAN, the Corporate Communications Manager of FAAN, Harrietta  Yakubu, said the press release was issued by the Aviation Minister’s Press Secretary, Mr. James Odaudu and refused to make comments.

On his part, Mr. James Odaudu also declined commenting on the issues when contacted by MMS Plus correspondents.

However, MMS Plus also gathered that the Managing Director at FAAN, Mr. Saleh Dunoma has been summoned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) several times and detailed for questioning for two days over misappropriation of funds. Despite the alleged fraud linked to him, Sirika has granted him another term of 4 years, a source noted.

Our sources at FAAN confirmed that the FAAN boss is still under the probe list of EFCC, despite claims of some online media platforms that the anti-graft agency cleared the FAAN Managing Director of the alleged N3 billion fraud after collecting N750 million bribe. The anti-graft agency has also officially denied clearing Sale Dunoma, of the alleged N3 billion and also debunked claims that it received N750million as bribe.

Dunoma, who was appointed as Managing Director by Ex-President Jonathan led administration in March 2014 joined the Civil Engineering Department of the defunct Nigeria Airports Authority (NAA) in 1980, the NAA metamorphosed into FAAN and that is clearly 37 years ago as against civil service rules that stipulated 35 years in service.

Our sources also say that Dunoma is 63, hence his tenure as Managing Director at FAAN also goes against the civil-service retirement age of 60years.

“The Managing Director has stayed 37 years in office despite the government saying 35 years and he is 63 years old. He celebrated his 60th birthday three years” our FAAN source said.

Meanwhile, the Aviation Ministry press release signed by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs, Mr. James Odaudu also approved, thirteen (13) Assistant General Managers (GMs) in FAAN to be promoted to the rank of General Managers (GMs), while at the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET), three (3) Assistant General Managers were promoted to Deputy General Managers, with a Chief Meteorologist uplifted to the position of Assistant General Manager.

Similarly, the exercise saw the promotion of nine (9) Deputy General Managers at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to the position of General Managers while a total of thirty-six Assistant General Managers were promoted to the rank of Deputy General Managers.

The approvals for reorganizations at FAAN and inter-agency postings, led to the appointment of Mrs. Victoria Shin-Aba as the new Airport Manager, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, a position formally held by Nehemiah Auta who has been redeployed to the FAAN Headquarters as Deputy General Manager, Operations.

Also, a new Director, Human Resources, Mr Anozie Norris has been appointed for the Authority. He replaces Hajia Salamatu Eluma who has been redeployed to the AIB as Director, Human Resources. A new General Manager, Accounts, Kabir Mohammed has also been appointed for the Authority.

Similarly, the Director, Finance and Accounts, FAAN, was redeployed to the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) in the same capacity, while the Assistant General Manager, Air Transport Regulations, Hajia Mariam Ismail, was moved to NCAA.

According to the Minister, the appointments and postings which take immediate effect, would galvanize a robust service delivery in the sector in line with the set objectives of the present Administration to reform the aviation industry.

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  1. Despite the directives to clear all promotion back logs, NCAA has refused to promote the remaing level 14 officers to Assistant General Managers (AGM) despite passing the promotion exam and were all overdue for promotion.

  2. Noted sir, further investigations would be done on that.
    Thank you!

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