One-time Secretary General of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and a former member of the Civil Society Representative (Aviation) in MTSS, Comrade Razaq Saidu, has said that the rate of expatriate quota abuse is getting worse in the nation’s aviation sector.
According to Saidu, the situation is more deplorable among operators of private charter airlines, “you will see the high level of abuse there. You will wonder, whether we have indigenisation law in Nigeria or not. There, expatriates are placed in positions that ought to be occupied by Nigerians without the approval of government.”
Saidu called on the in-coming government of Gen., Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) to beam a searchlight on this.
“This will be part of what will bring about the real change going by the slogan of Buhari’s political party. We want this Change slogan to transform into economic change in the Aviation Industry for Nigerians,” he said.
Saidu lamented that the gross abuse of expatriate quotas is militating against the employment of Nigerians in specified positions, stressing that the issue must also be looked into, especially the Immigration Officers that are colluding with these airlines and allied agencies to give illegal approvals.
“Some time ago when I was in the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), we protested to the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) on the persistent abuse of expatriate quotas by airlines-foreign and domestic- The abuse in the aviation sector also affect the oil industry and many other sectors of the economy.
“Those perpetrating this evil never wanted the Unions to talk about it at all. If as a Union member and you happen to be a staff in the affected airline and you dare make mention of this racist syndrome, the next day, you are sacked.
“When I was in NUATE and as a result of our agitation, I know many foreigners that were deported by Alitalia (UTA), on the abuse of expatriate quota. That time, it was UTA, now it has changed to Air France,” he said.
He mentioned that also affected in this abuse were CAMEROUN Airline and British Airways.
“We have well experienced Nigerian pilots and engineers that are employable why foreigners? They prefer bringing expatriates to take over positions meant for Nigerians hiding under “Technical Partnership.”
“When you are hiding under technical partnership, there must be a limit to the number of expatriates you are bringing, when we have numerous Nigerians itching for the jobs-such as Aeronautical engineers, Aircraft engineers Pilots and many more,” he said.