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Senior Aviation Officials Sacked in Nigeria - 2002-05-15

The sackings did not come as a surprise to aviation industry watchers. The Minister of Aviation, Kema Chikwe, gave the hint last week during a news briefing.

She said as part of a new policy approved just before the Kano crash, the parastatals under her ministry were to be restructured to improve safety. Among those sacked were the head of the regulatory body, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. Also affected were senior officials of the aerospace management agency and the federal airports authority.

Although no official reason was given for their removal, analysts say it is not unconnected with the recent mishap. Several people have blamed the crash on incompetence and negligence on the part of officials in the agencies. The government is, however, reluctant to apportion blame until the panel set up to investigate the accident comes out with its findings. It has up to three weeks to complete the job. At least 150 passengers, crew and people on the ground were killed when a BAC 1-11 aircraft crashed in a densely populated area of the northern city of Kano on May 4th. Among the victims was Nigeria’s Sports Minister Ishaya Mark Aku who was traveling to the commercial capital Lagos on official assignment. The plane belonged to EAS, a private operator.