- President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress-led administration have been accused of failing Nigerians
- The allegation against the government and its representatives was made by the minority caucus of the House of Representatives
- The caucus led by the lawmaker representing the Aniocha North/Aniocha South/Oshimili North/Oshimili South constituency in Delta state called on the president to take measures that would avert the impending strike action by airline operators in Nigeria
Following a recent announcement of strike action by airline operators in Nigeria due to the high cost of aviation fuel, the minority caucus of the House of Representatives has issued advice to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The caucus on Saturday, May 7, urged the president to take remediation actions that would avert an imminent shutdown of flight operations in the country.
Stating that such actions would have grave consequences on the national life of the country, the leader of the House of Representatives minority caucus, Ndudi Elumelu, described the situation as a horrible development.
Elumelu said that with Nigeria being a major producer of oil, the shutdown of airline operations due to the high cost of aviation fuel (JetA1) from N190 to N700 per litre within a short period of time is another very sad commentary on the unpardonable failure, corruption, incompetence, negative policies and lack of capacity of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration.
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A member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Elumelu said the APC-led government has failed to effectively manage Nigeria's economy among many other challenges.
As representatives of the Nigerian people, the minority caucus registered its concern because it believes the aviation industry is pivotal to the operation, sustenance and survival of other key sectors of the economy.
Dangers of strike action by airline operators
Elumelu warned that any shutdown of flight operations will have a devastating spiral effect and worsen the excruciating economic hardship and further escalate insecurity in the country.
He added that the caucus came to the conclusion that asides from the direct disabling of thousands of aviation-related jobs and ancillary businesses, a shutdown of the sector will also have a gravely negative impact on critical government and public sector activities which are sustained by air travelling.
"It is instructive to note that the aviation sector is no longer an exclusive reserve of the elite, but plays a central role in the movement of personnel and equipment that drive and sustain services and operations.
"This will benefit the masses in healthcare, manufacturing, education, food production, telecommunication, retailing, banking and finance, hospitality, entertainment, power, security and other key sectors."
Effect of airline operators' strike on Nigeria's economy
In addition, the minority caucus noted that a shutdown of the aviation sector will therefore cripple millions of businesses as well as economic and commercial activities thereby increasing unemployment, worsening the economic hardship, putting pressure on the already ailing roads and exacerbating insecurity in our country.
"Moreover, the situation is a huge threat to our national integrity as it erodes the confidence of the International Community and foreign investors in our country thereby encouraging the movement of investments to neighbouring countries."
The minority caucus further called on the president to wake up, note the grave import of the situation and save the aviation sector from imminent collapse by immediately addressing the fuel crisis and other challenges in the industry.
"Mr President should critically address the crisis in the petroleum industry by reviewing the counter-productive policies and curbing the corruption in his administration so as to save our national economy from collapse under his watch."
Take note: Airline operators to shut down operations
The Airline Operators of Nigeria had announced the shutdown of its operations from Monday due to the steady increase in the cost of aviation fuel
The airline operators had threatened to shut down their operations in March arguing that they had only three days of fuel left.
The cost of aviation fuel, also known as Jet A1, had risen from N190/litre and later N360 per litre in January this year to N607 per litre in March. The product now reportedly sells for N700 per litre.
Government begins investigation on fare hike by Nigerian airlines for domestic travels, orders reversal
According to FG, it is wrong that airlines could come together and agree on a fixed price in a market that is supposed to be open.
Although Airlines came out to debunk the news that it increase prices despite flight ticket evidence, FG has ordered a new pricing system.