If its not strikes grounding Air Nigeria (VK), then its likely government departments acting too little, too late in the interests of public safety.
Ten days after Dana Air flight 9J-992's tragic crash whilst on approach into Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport in which 153 people perished, Harold Demuren, the Director-General of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) himself under heavy pressure since June 3, ordered grounded, the country's second largest carrier so as to carry out a safety audit.
"It is a routine action to enable us look at the airline’s operations before allowing it to go back to operations again, having been on strike for days. This is normal." quoted NCAA spokesman Sam Adurogboye.
Air Nigeria boss Jimoh Ibrahim swiftly moved to deny that his airline had been grounded insisting instead, that his airline had willingly ceased operations of its own volition, and not, as reported, under duress.
“We are not grounded by anybody, but we decided not to fly today because we just felt that we should reorganize and create particular awareness because we’re coming out of (a) strike,” Ibrahim said. He said flights should resume Thursday.
The whole debacle started, it seems, with the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) strike of 1 June where one of the grievances was that management had not availed enough money to the Engineers to allow them to maintain the aircraft adequately. On ending the week-long strike, NAAPE President Isaac Balami rescinded that claim, and restated that in actuality, the strike had only been about "social benefits".
Then, following the Dana Air crash, John I. Nnorom, a former Executive Director for Finance at Air Nigeria who resigned his appointment with the airline on April 1, 2012, published a stinging article in the Nigerian press, condemning Air Nigeria's safety record, and imploring people not to fly the airline for safety reasons.
Read More Here [SaharReporters]
"He (Nnorom) disclosed that Air Nigeria is in financial crisis because money loaned by Bank of Industry of N35.5Billion has been diverted into Mr. Ibrahim’s NICON INVESTMENT LTD, a non-finance company popularly called wonder bank, leading to air safety being compromised, and stressed that there is a great possibility of a disastrous Air Nigeria crash, which can occur at any time.
John Nnorom (MercyJohnson)
He recalled that in Jan 2012, Licensed Engineers in Air Nigeria went on strike because they were being forced to certify unfit aircraft into the air, and another strike was averted in March 2012 following the intervention of the DG-NCAA, Demureen. Both events, he said, were based on failure on Failure To Meet Safety Standard, and are verifiable information the public is aware of."
Naturally, Air Nigeria moved to rebuff Nnorom's claims by labelling him an "illiterate in the maintenance of aircraft and a criminal".
Then, Nigerian Press investigations revealed that Air Nigeria's claims to have signed a deal to buy four Boeing 787 Dreamliners for $887 million through a loan with the U.S. Export-Import Bank was denied to The Associated Press by officials at both Boeing and the bank
So, could there be an element of truth in Nnorom's claims? Or is he simply a butthurt ex-employee out to smear his former employers?
In the end, the age old dictum that states "there are three sides to every story: Yours, mine and the truth" is most relevant, though when dealing with Nigeria one can only be assured of ever hearing the "Yours and Mine" part; the Truth? Well good luck with that one...