TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

AIRPORT SCANNING MACHINE A BLUE MOVIE IN DISGUISE - CAPTAIN JOJI

By NBF News
Click for Full Image Size
Listen to article

3Share
Captain Mohammed Joji, Secretary-General of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) in this interview with Vanguard's Favour Nnabugwu in Kaduna penultimate Friday talks on issues bordering on the airfare, facilities at the nation's airports, the economy, the Nigerian bomber aboard US plane and many others.Excerpts.

Aviation stakeholders recently held a meeting with Consumer Protection Council (CPC). What is the update with the aviation fuel increase?

We held a meeting with Consumer Protection Council (CPC) on January 20, 2011 and we arrived at some conclusions and also proffered that there is need to hold a further stakeholders' meeting with Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Products Marketing Corporation (PPMC), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) which I represented as the Secretary-General, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and CPC under the auspices of three ministries - Ministry of Commerce and Industry in which CPC is under its purview, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Petroleum and Ministry of Aviation.

We should be conveying and addressing the constant increase in the Jet A1 fuel with a view to stabilise the price similar to that of PMS. The further stakeholders' meeting is to hold tentatively in February 2011.

All over the world, PMS is more expensive than ATK except in Nigeria. Today in United Kingdom, a litre of PMS is sold for £2, which is almost N500. They are taking advantage of us because PMS is subsidised even the subsidy of PMS is a ruse, government is wasting money for nothing, how can you tell me you subsidise PMS and government owes you N582 billion? If government owed N582 billion, then they could have been out of business by now.

They are just collecting money from government for nothing.  I urge government to first of all look very carefully into that bidding exercise: Who are those involved, what do they do and all that? Government should also ensure that all the refineries are put to work. We have crude oil in this country, Kaduna refinery was producing ATK, the distribution is centered to the North, the one in Warri can be centered to the South.

They should look at flat rate for the international price where people buy oil and refine it. In the past, government used to allocate a certain amount of crude for domestic refining but that is far from it now. What guarantee do we have that they are not taking the crude oil outside the country to refine and bring back to the country to sell at an international price? So these are the issues. We discussed a lot at the CPC meeting and we asked PPMC to continue to monitor what is going on. CPC also raised a lot of concern regarding flight cancellation, flight delay and missing luggage etc.

That means there is no headway yet even with the intervention of CPC?

There is no headway at all. For instance, ATK is selling in Kaduna for N130, which is uncalled for because it is an  outstation. If for any reason they increase the aviation fuel price, we will increase our airfare but what airfare can passengers afford? Mind you, we are sharing passengers between air and road.

Those luxurious buses are now like mini-aero plane on the road, giving you all the comfort, luxury and company while the journey lasts. The moment you increase the airfare so much, people will opt for road regardless of what it involves and since security is improving on our roads on a daily basis, we have a competition to deal with there.  So this is why we've got to stop them somewhere because we don't want to be unsafe if we are operating below margin. We may not even have enough money to run administrative expenses or perhaps pilots and engineers, then apathy will set in.

Fuel problem can cause a lot of havoc in this country because it could affect safety. It could affect safety in the sense that if you don't have enough to pay your workers, a lot can take place when you undermine their right.

Was AON informed ahead of the price increase?
The norms as it were is that they will just tell you sorry tomorrow we are going to increase it and since every airline has its own marketer, it is more like a jungle law because they know that you cannot go to filling station to buy aviation fuel. There is a monopoly, a kind of cartel among the marketers.

Is there no way that airline operators can bypass those marketers?

We had thought of getting our own supply but we need a licence in order to have a depot but how many airlines do we have? A lot of airlines come in and go out. Again, who controls who or what? We can only succeed if airlines speak with one voice, and that will not happen unless the problem of dispute among the airlines is resolved.

We tried it before with Chanchangi Airline, unfortunately, it did not work and we also brought somebody from America that had millions of tonnes of fuel on the high sea, yet we could not put our houses in order. We even tried to get some tanks of our own which could have really addressed the situation but it was a bit difficult because combining planes with fuelling, is difficult. We are into the business of flying planes not fuel. All of that, the marketers have taken advantage of.

There is no unity among AON members?
AON is a registered organisation that has been in existence since 1986. Active members of a body like AON in most parts of the world are the ones that are not flying.

Captain Mohammed-Joji
They are experienced people from the industry, they may not have airlines of their own and nobody can blackmail them. I have been flying since 1986 and I am one of the oldest commercial airliners today but I cut my coat according to my cloth. I don't do heavy borrowing; I don't go meeting people and using facilities without paying for them.

What is the strength of AON?
We are 25 active members.  EAS is one of the pioneers; Bellview that is now going to be First Nation, Okada, even Sosoliso and ADC were all active players. We cannot say because they had an accident and they are not flying, we will reject them. We cannot do that. We started all together, and together we fought to keep this industry and they are paying their dues as and when due. Even Captain Okon who started from ADC to Fresh Air, Chrome Air; and that airline in Port Harcourt that is no longer in business now. Their memberships are still intact. Mr. Gbenga Olowo who was in Belleview before and Chris Aligbe.

They know and ride aviation back and forth hence we cannot say because they don't have airlines or because they are not flying, they are not active members of the industry. We still tap from their experiences and knowledge. There were airlines in the 70s, Okada, Kabo and Intercontinental; they are the first private pioneer operators set up by the act of parliament. We cannot throw all of their experiences away.

Is there no way AON can curtail the excesses of airliners?

We have security agents that ensure that whoever is running a business is properly checked and certified. It is not our responsibility to say you are doing this or that.

Are the facilities at the airport good enough for the smooth operations of aircraft?

There is need for proper restructuring of the entire industry. Profitable airline operation depends very much on maximum utilisation of facilities at the airports. This is why it is pertinent to make available all the necessary equipment and ensuring proper maintenance of aircraft.

Our local and international airports should be equipped to meet world standards. Owners of aircraft should be given the desired support and encouragement to allow for economic growth. In most parts of the world, especially the 3rd world, there is an incentive given to domestic operators. We are very unusual in Nigeria today, almost 95 % of African countries run what we can call government-owned industry but that is not the situation here.

Nigerians are great entrepreneurs and that is an attestation to the large number of private operators we have in the country today.Because the failure of rail today and road at one point in time made air a substitute and people are pumping in their hard earned money, for that alone, they deserve good run for their money. So, we need all the help we can get, we are the only industry so far that has not been assisted.

The shipping industry once upon a time was given money but to us, no money, no concession. We are going to hold a meeting regarding the concession of our services. The president wrote through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) DG. We will hold our meeting and review all the charges probably soon where we are going to sit down and have a look at all that under the chairmanship of the DG, NCAA and I hope there will be a reversal where the same privilege will apply to all.

Because it is not one airline that makes up the industry, everybody has his own source of finance; everybody has a role to play in the aviation industry. If you say I give you a concession of 5% for airlines with 5 airplanes, the 5% concession for an airline that has about 100 airplanes is far more than the others. Having a variance in the percentage of concession given is not the best for the sector.

How many aircraft are indeed healthy at present?
Well, we have a lot of healthy aircraft. Without aviation, there is no drop of oil. Aviation industry earns a reasonable percentage of the nation's income and government should appreciate that.

Civil Aviation in Nigeria is good for the country's struggling economy and every effort should be made to expand and develop it profitably. Something needs to be done to induce profitable growth in the Nigeria Civil Aviation because profitable growth is the main objective of the business.

Aviation business is risk- bearing; a number of people are comfortable travelling by air. While it is absolutely splendid, and a very agreeable way of life, it is enormous and the economic efficiency requires high priority

Would you say the airport is of international standard the way it is now?

There was a lot of decay, but there is an improvement in the facilities at the airport now

How then was Abdulmutallab able to scale the machine?

I blamed Nigeria government on that, the boy travelled through three different airports; Accra, Lagos and Amsterdam. The bomb could have been placed on him in any of those airports. We cannot assume responsibility that the bomb was placed on him at Murtala Mohammed Airport.

He is a Nigerian; no doubt, he could have been a Chinese or Japanese person. He was still in Amsterdam, we were told according to CCTV camera with a Pakistani looking somebody. Why did America keep quiet on that? Also, there are more than eight security watchdogs in America with the list of names of people to look out for. Why was the boy allowed to escape and not stopped from flying? It was more like a conspiracy theory to derail Obama at that time.

When Barack Obama took office, he made three major pronouncements; we are going to close down Guantánamo, we are going to close down Iran, Afghanistan but the beneficiary of those words are conservative hence they don't want that to happen. How did a simple boy escape security agents? He was sitting in an A330 airbus seat 19A. Seat rolls 17, 18 or 19 are on a fuel tank. If it was a bomb of that magnitude, there is no way that aeroplane could not have exploded while he was on seat.

Fine! They said the bomb exploded on his lap yet he was able to walk out of the plane with the same leg. Was that really a bomb or a firecracker, what was it? Do you know the definition of a bomb, especially in an atmosphere of aeroplane with that pressure? People should ask questions. And now they have introduced the so-called X-ray machines. The X-ray machines are blue movies in disguise.

I don't align with it. It shows every human parts including your genital and so on. It creates problem and the problem has even started emerging in Lagos. There were gossips about a big shot's wife and the man is taking them to court. It is immoral.  How can l now allow my wife to be subjected to that kind of a blue movie? One of the designers of the scanning machine, a British Aerospace engineer who was a member of the Parliament in the United Kingdom on BBC TV criticised the machine.

Even they themselves that designed the machines are already casting doubt on the machines. It is not right. There has to be an alternative. Why don't we find another way of doing the same job without exposing the system? Dogs sniff drugs even without seeing the drugs etc.  Can't we apply same method?

But there must be a way of checking travellers?
Yes. A more sophisticated way without abusing privacy in the name of scanning. There must be a way of doing that.

Do you think that the economy at the expense of the forthcoming election?

People are living below poverty line yet legislators are collecting millions upon millions every quarter. We have a parliament that is full time but in most parts of the world, the parliaments are not full time. With all the privileges, it means that politics is business, that is why people are killing themselves to get there.

That is why elections are hardly conducted peacefully because they know the amount of money they are going to make from politics. The inducements are too much.

Parliamentary democracy is too expensive for a black African country. We cannot afford it. The beauty of Parliamentary democracy is that even the oppositions are in the parliament. You must win the election and one of the things we dislike is that if the president wanted to appoint Mr A as minister, Mr A has to be recommended or sponsored by the governor.

So, loyalty No 1 is to the governor. Secondly, he has to go to the Senate, loyalty No 2 is to the Senate, and then he will come and work for the president and also be loyal. That has got to change. The president has the right to select whoever he wants based on federal character and then the security agent should have record of the person without being humiliated with answering questions in front of legislators. Have you seen that in British Parliamentary system? No. Before a person is recommended, they already have your background and all your security reports are available to them and where they miss out, the public has the right to cry out.

Again, if an executive makes a budget, he goes back again for budget review, how sure are you that people don't have their own interest in it?. We have to look at the political structure of Nigeria properly.

Airport scanning machine a blue movie in disguise - Captain JojiFinance, InterviewFeb 14, 2011

../../generaltopics/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Airport-scanning-machine.jpg Captain Mohammed Joji, Secretary-General of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) in this interview with Vanguard's Favour Nnabugwu in Kaduna penultimate Friday talks on issues bordering on the airfare, facilities at the nation's airports, the economy, the Nigerian bomber aboard US plane and many others.Excerpts.Aviation stakeholders recently held a meeting with Consumer Protection Council (CPC). What is the update with the aviation fuel increase?We held a meeting with Consumer Protection Council (CPC) on January 20, 2011 and we arrived at some conclusions and also proffered that there is need to hold a further stakeholders' meeting with Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Products Marketing Corporation (PPMC), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) which I represented as the Secretary-General, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and CPC under the auspices of three ministries - Ministry of Commerce and Industry in which CPC is under its purview, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Petroleum and Ministry of Aviation.We should be conveying and addressing the constant increase in the Jet A1 fuel with a view to stabilise the price similar to that of PMS. The further stakeholders' meeting is to hold tentatively in February 2011.All over the world, PMS is more expensive than ATK except in Nigeria. Today in United Kingdom, a litre of PMS is sold for £2, which is almost N500. They are taking advantage of us because PMS is subsidised even the subsidy of PMS is a ruse, government is wasting money for nothing, how can you tell me you subsidise PMS and government owes you N582 billion? If government owed N582 billion, then they could have been out of business by now.They are just collecting money from government for nothing.  I urge government to first of all look very carefully into that bidding exercise: Who are those involved, what do they do and all that? Government should also ensure that all the refineries are put to work. We have crude oil in this country, Kaduna refinery was producing ATK, the distribution is centered to the North, the one in Warri can be centered to the South.They should look at flat rate for the international price where people buy oil and refine it. In the past, government used to allocate a certain amount of crude for domestic refining but that is far from it now. What guarantee do we have that they are not taking the crude oil outside the country to refine and bring back to the country to sell at an international price? So these are the issues. We discussed a lot at the CPC meeting and we asked PPMC to continue to monitor what is going on. CPC also raised a lot of concern regarding flight cancellation, flight delay and missing luggage etc.That means there is no headway yet even with the intervention of CPC?There is no headway at all. For instance, ATK is selling in Kaduna for N130, which is uncalled for because it is an  outstation. If for any reason they increase the aviation fuel price, we will increase our airfare but what airfare can passengers afford? Mind you, we are sharing passengers between air and road.Those luxurious buses are now like mini-aero plane on the road, giving you all the comfort, luxury and company while the journey lasts. The moment you increase the airfare so much, people will opt for road regardless of what it involves and since security is improving on our roads on a daily basis, we have a competition to deal with there.  So this is why we've got to stop them somewhere because we don't want to be unsafe if we are operating below margin. We may not even have enough money to run administrative expenses or perhaps pilots and engineers, then apathy will set in.Fuel problem can cause a lot of havoc in this country because it could affect safety. It could affect safety in the sense that if you don't have enough to pay your workers, a lot can take place when you undermine their right.Was AON informed ahead of the price increase?The norms as it were is that they will just tell you sorry tomorrow we are going to increase it and since every airline has its own marketer, it is more like a jungle law because they know that you cannot go to filling station to buy aviation fuel. There is a monopoly, a kind of cartel among the marketers.Is there no way that airline operators can bypass those marketers?We had thought of getting our own supply but we need a licence in order to have a depot but how many airlines do we have? A lot of airlines come in and go out. Again, who controls who or what? We can only succeed if airlines speak with one voice, and that will not happen unless the problem of dispute among the airlines is resolved.We tried it before with Chanchangi Airline, unfortunately, it did not work and we also brought somebody from America that had millions of tonnes of fuel on the high sea, yet we could not put our houses in order. We even tried to get some tanks of our own which could have really addressed the situation but it was a bit difficult because combining planes with fuelling, is difficult. We are into the business of flying planes not fuel. All of that, the marketers have taken advantage of.There is no unity among AON members?AON is a registered organisation that has been in existence since 1986. Active members of a body like AON in most parts of the world are the ones that are not flying.Captain Mohammed-JojiThey are experienced people from the industry, they may not have airlines of their own and nobody can blackmail them. I have been flying since 1986 and I am one of the oldest commercial airliners today but I cut my coat according to my cloth. I don't do heavy borrowing; I don't go meeting people and using facilities without paying for them.What is the strength of AON?We are 25 active members.  EAS is one of the pioneers; Bellview that is now going to be First Nation, Okada, even Sosoliso and ADC were all active players. We cannot say because they had an accident and they are not flying, we will reject them. We cannot do that. We started all together, and together we fought to keep this industry and they are paying their dues as and when due. Even Captain Okon who started from ADC to Fresh Air, Chrome Air; and that airline in Port Harcourt that is no longer in business now. Their memberships are still intact. Mr. Gbenga Olowo who was in Belleview before and Chris Aligbe.They know and ride aviation back and forth hence we cannot say because they don't have airlines or because they are not flying, they are not active members of the industry. We still tap from their experiences and knowledge. There were airlines in the 70s, Okada, Kabo and Intercontinental; they are the first private pioneer operators set up by the act of parliament. We cannot throw all of their experiences away.Is there no way AON can curtail the excesses of airliners?We have security agents that ensure that whoever is running a business is properly checked and certified. It is not our responsibility to say you are doing this or that.Are the facilities at the airport good enough for the smooth operations of aircraft?There is need for proper restructuring of the entire industry. Profitable airline operation depends very much on maximum utilisation of facilities at the airports. This is why it is pertinent to make available all the necessary equipment and ensuring proper maintenance of aircraft.Our local and international airports should be equipped to meet world standards. Owners of aircraft should be given the desired support and encouragement to allow for economic growth. In most parts of the world, especially the 3rd world, there is an incentive given to domestic operators. We are very unusual in Nigeria today, almost 95 % of African countries run what we can call government-owned industry but that is not the situation here.Nigerians are great entrepreneurs and that is an attestation to the large number of private operators we have in the country today.Because the failure of rail today and road at one point in time made air a substitute and people are pumping in their hard earned money, for that alone, they deserve good run for their money. So, we need all the help we can get, we are the only industry so far that has not been assisted.The shipping industry once upon a time was given money but to us, no money, no concession. We are going to hold a meeting regarding the concession of our services. The president wrote through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) DG. We will hold our meeting and review all the charges probably soon where we are going to sit down and have a look at all that under the chairmanship of the DG, NCAA and I hope there will be a reversal where the same privilege will apply to all.Because it is not one airline that makes up the industry, everybody has his own source of finance; everybody has a role to play in the aviation industry. If you say I give you a concession of 5% for airlines with 5 airplanes, the 5% concession for an airline that has about 100 airplanes is far more than the others. Having a variance in the percentage of concession given is not the best for the sector.How many aircraft are indeed healthy at present?Well, we have a lot of healthy aircraft. Without aviation, there is no drop of oil. Aviation industry earns a reasonable percentage of the nation's income and government should appreciate that.Civil Aviation in Nigeria is good for the country's struggling economy and every effort should be made to expand and develop it profitably. Something needs to be done to induce profitable growth in the Nigeria Civil Aviation because profitable growth is the main objective of the business.Aviation business is risk- bearing; a number of people are comfortable travelling by air. While it is absolutely splendid, and a very agreeable way of life, it is enormous and the economic efficiency requires high priorityWould you say the airport is of international standard the way it is now?There was a lot of decay, but there is an improvement in the facilities at the airport nowHow then was Abdulmutallab able to scale the machine?I blamed Nigeria government on that, the boy travelled through three different airports; Accra, Lagos and Amsterdam. The bomb could have been placed on him in any of those airports. We cannot assume responsibility that the bomb was placed on him at Murtala Mohammed Airport.He is a Nigerian; no doubt, he could have been a Chinese or Japanese person. He was still in Amsterdam, we were told according to CCTV camera with a Pakistani looking somebody. Why did America keep quiet on that? Also, there are more than eight security watchdogs in America with the list of names of people to look out for. Why was the boy allowed to escape and not stopped from flying? It was more like a conspiracy theory to derail Obama at that time.When Barack Obama took office, he made three major pronouncements; we are going to close down Guantánamo, we are going to close down Iran, Afghanistan but the beneficiary of those words are conservative hence they don't want that to happen. How did a simple boy escape security agents? He was sitting in an A330 airbus seat 19A. Seat rolls 17, 18 or 19 are on a fuel tank. If it was a bomb of that magnitude, there is no way that aeroplane could not have exploded while he was on seat.Fine! They said the bomb exploded on his lap yet he was able to walk out of the plane with the same leg. Was that really a bomb or a firecracker, what was it? Do you know the definition of a bomb, especially in an atmosphere of aeroplane with that pressure? People should ask questions. And now they have introduced the so-called X-ray machines. The X-ray machines are blue movies in disguise.I don't align with it. It shows every human parts including your genital and so on. It creates problem and the problem has even started emerging in Lagos. There were gossips about a big shot's wife and the man is taking them to court. It is immoral.  How can l now allow my wife to be subjected to that kind of a blue movie? One of the designers of the scanning machine, a British Aerospace engineer who was a member of the Parliament in the United Kingdom on BBC TV criticised the machine.Even they themselves that designed the machines are already casting doubt on the machines. It is not right. There has to be an alternative. Why don't we find another way of doing the same job without exposing the system? Dogs sniff drugs even without seeing the drugs etc.  Can't we apply same method?But there must be a way of checking travellers?Yes. A more sophisticated way without abusing privacy in the name of scanning. There must be a way of doing that.Do you think that the economy at the expense of the forthcoming election?People are living below poverty line yet legislators are collecting millions upon millions every quarter. We have a parliament that is full time but in most parts of the world, the parliaments are not full time. With all the privileges, it means that politics is business, that is why people are killing themselves to get there.That is why elections are hardly conducted peacefully because they know the amount of money they are going to make from politics. The inducements are too much.Parliamentary democracy is too expensive for a black African country. We cannot afford it. The beauty of Parliamentary democracy is that even the oppositions are in the parliament. You must win the election and one of the things we dislike is that if the president wanted to appoint Mr A as minister, Mr A has to be recommended or sponsored by the governor.So, loyalty No 1 is to the governor. Secondly, he has to go to the Senate, loyalty No 2 is to the Senate, and then he will come and work for the president and also be loyal. That has got to change. The president has the right to select whoever he wants based on federal character and then the security agent should have record of the person without being humiliated with answering questions in front of legislators. Have you seen that in British Parliamentary system? No. Before a person is recommended, they already have your background and all your security reports are available to them and where they miss out, the public has the right to cry out.Again, if an executive makes a budget, he goes back again for budget review, how sure are you that people don't have their own interest in it?. We have to look at the political structure of Nigeria properly.