Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
The National Meteorological Services for Nigeria (NIMeT) has accused the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Air Space Management Agency (NAMA) of refusal to pay N2.3 billion it claims both agencies owe it.
The Director, Weather Forecasting Services, NIMeT, Dr Clinton Nzekwe, made this claim at a one-day interactive session organised by the Flight Crew Association of Nigeria (FCAN), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCO) held in Lagos.
Speaking on the theme, “Airport Collaborative Decision Making, Capacity Development and Planning as Catalysts for Aviation Safety,” Nzekwe said lack of collaboration between aviation agencies is one of the key challenges the industry is facing. He said even when there is a memorandum of understanding with sister agencies, the level of collaboration is not commensurate with what is written on paper and that a system cannot make progress without other components of the system. He said NIMeT has made several efforts even at the ministerial level to get out money from FAAN and NAMA to buy the equipment but that till date, it has been unsuccessful.
“Incidentally the theme of this gathering emphasis collaborative decision making and one of the key challenges we have had in service delivery has been collaboration. Even when we have had memorandum of understanding with sister agencies, you realise that sometimes the level of collaboration is not commensurate with what is written on paper. As a system, you cannot make progress without any other component of the system because if one part of the system is not functional, that system will not operate maximally.
“The life blood of any organisation is money and NIMET incidentally is a very small organisation with a very big responsibility. The power of an organisation depends on it fire power – finance. Now, in responding to the issues of the RVR, it is tied to the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) programme which is a national programme and not a NIMET programme. I think it was an attempted at integrative airport management system and currently what is required to resuscitate the MIDAS is about N9 billion which is like two times NIMET’s yearly budget; that is why I said it is a small organisation with a big responsibility.
But being very responsible stakeholders in the aviation industry, what we have started doing is to shop for cheaper alternative technology that can give us the same results without having to tie ourselves down with a complex system that we cannot manage. So within the next few months, the issue of IVR will be sorted out. Importantly, I don’t know how we made the mistake of not bringing FAAN into this meeting. We are not supposed to trade blames here but between FAAN and NAMA, NIMET is being owned N2.3 billion which we have made several efforts even at the ministerial level for us to get out money so that we can but the equipment because without the money we can’t buy the equipment. We don’t get any other subventions apart from the little we get from the federal government and a little IGR. And if the IGR is not given to us we can’t function.
“We have issues with vandalism and we have interferences from birds and other wide animals. But we have issues again with interference from man. For instance, our main mast system in the airport was removed by FAAN during the construction of that road and they have not replaced it. So without that main mast working, the other mass will not work effectively. I have the same issue with observation in Port Harcourt. If there was collaboration, when that new building was being put up in Port Harcourt, we complained that the height of the roof is such that it will block our observation position; and we asked if it can be reduced by one meter which for me wouldn’t have affected the structure. But nobody listened to us, which means there is a problem with collaboration. Right now you can’t take observation from Port Harcourt.
“Now, we have written severally, we have scouted the airport to find a vantage position where we can get an observation point and severally we have written to our authority to give us that portion of land so that we can erect at our own cost to get traction and it has hasn’t yielded anything. In one of the letters we copied NCAA, in case there is an issue tomorrow. But I am very happy with this forum because it gives opportunity to shed light and maybe ask for those who can help,” Nzekwe said.