One of Nigeria’s airlines, AZMAN Air has sacked no fewer than six of its pilots including three captains and three first officers as well as the airline Cabin Service Manager/Trainer, Account Officer in Abuja as well as two ticketers in the Abuja station.
It was also learnt that the airline has also allegedly notified the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) of this sack reminding them of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed to ‘avoid’ the pilots, giving credence to a cabal within the AON structure to continuously suppress pilot employment.
Captain Jibrin Saidu, Captain Abdulkarim Abubakar, Captain Jika Keghtor, First Officer Shehu Jibrilla Umar, First Officer Ibrahim Isa Musa and First Officer Bello Garba. Others affected are Isa Yamta Cabin Service Manager/Trainer, Account Officer Abuja Station as well as two ticketers at the Abuja station. Azman Air who reacted to an enquiry sent to its managing director, Faisal Abdulmunaf to ascertain the true picture said, “The only thing I know about is some of the staff were terminated due to reductions of our flights as a result of low demand because of COVID-19 impact.”
Contrary to that claim however, we learnt that the affected staff were allegedly sacked for indiscipline and promotion of anarchy because they asked payment of their emoluments but their termination letters read that their employment was ended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The following pilot were sacked today for indiscipline and promotion of anarchy within the airline. Please note and avoid them as per the MOU. Captain Jibrin Saidu, Captain Abdulkarim Abubakar, Captain Jika Keghtor, First Officer Shehu Jibrilla Umar, First Officer Ibrahim Isa Musa; First Officer Bello Garba, Isa Yamta Cabin Service Manager/Trainer, Account Officer Abuja Station, ticketer Abuja Station, Ticketer Abuja Station,” a statement from the airline reads.
Meanwhile what seem to be worrisome is the cabal-like operations of airlines in the country who signed an MOU to somehow ensure that if a pilot or staff leaves one position for another there must be letter of no objection and no signatory airline can pay higher than a pre-determined salary scale determined by them. Meaning that with the notice issued to members, Azman may be stifling employment for the staff it fired.
Already, players have started calling on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to intervene following the fact that airlines that have reduced salaries drastically or have started paying late are signs of economic stress and the regulators need to critically examine these airlines economically and give them a clean bill of health were necessary or enforce laws to compel them to be responsible.