My experience may be a one-off but still has to be relayed.
A couple of months back, I had cause to approach the directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for one of its services – obtain its clearance as statutorily stipulated for the erection of a radio mast. Having had an experience with a ministry previously, which was harrowing and costly in terms of time wasted and money spent, I was extremely apprehensive about how to go about the NCAA business.
I tried to find out where the NCAA head office was in Abuja – Federal Secretariat or the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport (NAIA), as stated on their website. After some false starts, I went back to the NCAA website, lifted the phone number listed there, and dialed it.
After some seconds, someone, a male, picked it up, said hello and listened, and responded to my questions. I thanked him. Some days later, I repeated the same process to find out which location was at the NAIA premises. This time a lady picked me up and patiently explained the location of the building to me.
From my personal experience, this was unusual. Hardly does anyone pick up those calls to numbers that government ministries, agencies, or parastatals list on their oftentimes non-functioning websites. They also rarely respond to emails. I have scars to prove that.
When we (three of us), got to the NCAA premises at the NAIA, from the security men at the gate, the receptionists, and the men we met in the offices, everyone was so polite and were all ‘kindly’ and ‘gently’ directing us to where and who we were to see. At a point, we actually wondered if we were on the premises of a private company or a government agency.
We got all the information we needed, left, and a few days later, followed the instructions given to us and sent in a letter requesting clearance. As instructed that if in two weeks we did not receive feedback, we should call, we did just that.
Thereafter, everything happened on its own – a call from the head office in Lagos with details of two different payments via Remita. That was done, confirmation of payment scanned back to NCAA, then a call from staff in Port Harcourt and a date fixed for inspection of the prospective radio tower location in Owerri.
The inspection was done and it was positive, a certificate was issued and collected.
Throughout this process, there was no insinuation of ‘aah, it is difficult o, ‘I can help you,’ or ‘Aunty/Madam, you have to see this or that oga’, popular refrains at a previous ministry I dealt with for something completely different. At the NCAA from Abuja to Lagos and Port Harcourt, not one demanded anything, and yet, service was promptly rendered and satisfactorily too.
I do not know if my experience is a one-off, but here I am, back with a note of appreciation for the NCAA, its men, women, and leadership. I know many staff was involved in processing the request and offering the service. Wish I could mention their names, but I don’t know their names, but to these three – Mr. Adebayo in Abuja, Mr. Bello in Lagos, and Mr. Okechukwu in Port Harcourt thank you gentlemen for living up to what you signed up and are paid for, (no matter how small the payment is), – rendering service.
And to the NCAA leadership, whatever it is you are doing to motivate your staff that they give such service (I received that service), keep doing it, keep inspiring and motivating them into doing more and better.