The Senate on Tuesday mandated the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to immediately everything possible to protect the rights of privileges of the nation’s consumers in the economy as a whole.
This followed complaints and petitions by consumers on the abysmal services provided and poor treatment of Nigerians by the various domestic airline operators, as well as the fee structure and the non-employment of Nigerians by the international operators.
The upper legislative chamber also resolved to “mandate the Senate committee on aviation to thoroughly investigate the root causes of this challenge in the aviation industry with a view to halting the observed inimical practices in the industry.”
The Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) was also mandated “to immediately put in place necessary regulatory mechanisms to arrest the dwindling fortunes in the industry.”
The Senate expressed deep concern over the rising level of flight delays and cancellations that have become prevalent in the aviation industry in recent times and the need to urgently halt these along with the attendant ill-treatment of passengers by airline operators, after listening to the submission of Senator Ibn N’Allah.
After deliberations on the matter, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, noted that legislators to stand in the gap between service rendered to the citizens and the service providers for to ensure optimal quality service delivery.
He therefore directed “the Senate Committee on Aviation to do their finds and report back.”
Deliberating on the matter earlier, Senator Matthew Urhoghide urged government to look into the price hike of airfares and that the Senate must protect the interest of the masses who must not be left at the mercy of extortionist operators, while Senator Ben Murray Bruce called for the privatization of that entire sector of the economy, because the problem “is not money but corruption and undue interference of the government.”
The deliberation on the suffering of Nigerians as a result of the downturn in the nation’s aviation industry followed the promises by Senator Saraki who while fielding questions on his personal twitter handed during the holidays, promised to look into the issues raised.
THE POST had last weekend reported that Dr. Saraki, in a series of tweets on Friday night, said based on the volume of business they do in Nigeria, foreign airlines operating ought to be partners in progress to the country rather than just parasites.
Saraki had wondered, for example, “why only 10 Nigerian air host/hostesses work for Emirates,” unlike in other African countries where the United Arab Emirates-based airline operates like Kenya.
“I gathered that in countries like Kenya, Emirates Airlines emloys close to 1,000 Kenyans in their workforce (and) considering the size of Nigeria and its market- I would have expected more,” he stressed.
The Senate, he assured, “will work to ensure that foreign entities operating in the country hire more Nigerians. This is important for our domestic growth.”
“Companies operating in Nigeria must employ Nigerians,” he added, urging everyone with useful information that can help better the plight of Nigerians to bring such to the attention of the Senate.
“Foreign airlines and companies need to hire more Nigeria,” he stressed noting that the problem may have been that at the time the airlines started their Nigerian route, the Federal Government did not cut a good deal for the benefit of the people.
Even then, he continued, “it is time to into this,” he added, adding that “the senate will work to ensure that foreign entities operating in the country hire more Nigerians. This is important for our domestic growth.”
While wishing the chairman, Senate Aviation Committee, Senator Muhammad Adamu speedy recovery, the Saraki said upon his return, “there is work to do to address this airline employment issue.”