‘How government sacked 47 pilots in Nigeria Airways in a day’

A former Director of Operations at the defunct Nigeria Airways, Captain Adele Ore has described the sack of 47 pilots in a fell swoop by the Federal Government in the days of the national airline as one of his saddest moments in the service.

Ore who became a pilot at the age of 21 recalled that he found it painful that 47 pilots were sacked under his watch in one day, stressing that most of those sacked were already captains who the Federal Government trained for at least nine years.

This was just as he recalled how he was appointed and sacked as the Chief Pilot in the former national carrier thrice by different governments, identifying how inconsistency in policy formulation and execution brought about the collapse of the airline.

Ore while speaking at the pre-event press briefing he had on his latest book, ‘The Learned Commander,’ explained that government policy and ill health of some of the pilots led to the sack of the 47 pilots  in a day in 1988.

According to him, the government in its policy then, had wanted to reduce the 3,700 workforce of the airline by 50 per cent, maintaining that the sack of the pilots was a step in the wrong direction, which he said had a negative impact on the entire performance of the airline.

He used the opportunity to reveal that the 30-chapter book to be presented at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos encapsulates everything about his life from the cockpit to the court room as a legal practitioner.

Ore who participated actively in the Nigerian civil war when he was flying the wounded Biafran soldiers added that his last flight before retiring was “a mutiny,” but he survived it by the grace of God.

Speaking on the plan by the Federal Government to float a new national carrier, Ore noted that appointing foreign technical advisers was a wrong step by Senator Hadi Sirika, the Minister of State for Aviation.

“You don’t need all these financial advisors, advisers, transaction advisers. Where is Dele Ore? Where is Taiwo Adenekan and the like? And when the thing is now coming so close to election, it is another agenda. I cannot fault the policy, the plan, but I have always said, may be that is the reason they don’t come to me, we are talking about a national carrier, but I said no, a flag carrier.”


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