By Chukwuemeke Iwelunmo
THE grand patron of the Nigerian Professional Pilots ( NPP), Captain Nogie Meggison has called on the Federal Government to put in a place a proactive policy that will address the projected 500 Nigerian licensed pilots that are unemployed.
He said the number was formerly 200 but is set to increase when the over 100 student pilots’ sent to Jordan by the Kano State government graduate later this year.
Meggison spoke in an interview in Lagos.
This is in addition to the 52 youths trained under the Federal Government Amnesty programme as well as a fresh batch of 100 graduating from the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology ( NCAT), and another 40 from the International Aviation College ( IAC), in Ilorin, Kwara State .
Meggison said unless something is done quickly, the development could constitute a disincentive to the growth and development of the Nigerian aviation industry.
He said that well over 400 Nigerian licensed aircraft engineers are also out of job, urging the Federal Government to put in place an employment policy that would ensure that these aviation professionals are engaged by both indigenous and foreign carriers operating.
Meggison said though some domestic carriers have done well and are engaging some of the pilots, there is still room for improvement.
He said that there are over 1,000 foreign pilots engaged by both local and foreign registered airplanes flying in Nigeria, adding that apart from that number, there are over 500 foreign aircraft engineers employed in the country .
His words: “The government should compel foreign carriers to set up a line station for aircraft maintenance in the country and employ local engineers to assist in turning around the growth of the sector .
“They should look into other avenues also, if policies are not put in place the challenge of unemployment of pilots and engineers may not be resolved as soon as possible. It is shameful that Nigerian licensed youth pilots are now driving ” kabu Kabu ” to make ends meet.
“This is totally unacceptable. Not that there’re no jobs but the jobs are being taken by foreigners.