By Frank Kintum
Those who are familiar with the Nigeria aviation sector, know that it is one complex and sensitive sector that both public and private players discharge their responsibilities with utmost caution.
Unlike the Nigeria road transport sector where every Tom, Dick and Harry can just jump in without due certification, and to an extent, the water transportation, the aviation sector, not only in Nigeria is highly regulated.
Thankfully, in a pleasant departure from recent past when the country witnessed unacceptable and avoidable air crashes, the Nigeria skies in recent times has recorded enviable safe travel records, at least in civil aviation.
This may not be unconnected to the fact that the federal government has put in place stringent measures and is now applying even stiffer penalties to ensure religious compliance to laid down rules.
And one man who the federal government has relied on so much over the years in making sure that aviation safety guidelines are adhered to is a renowned aviation practitioner, Mr. Pwajok Matthew Lawrence.
He is the man who has given all his work life to the Aviation sector, dedicating all his time and resources to improve the lot of the industry, both locally and internationally.
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He has in the service to his country, worked in the then Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of the Federal Ministry of Transport, before the creation of the then Federal Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA) in 1988, and subsequently, the establishment of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) in 1999.
Difficult to fault, and very humble, he obtained his Diploma in Air Traffic Control from the prestigious Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, in 1994 and capped it up with an Air Traffic Controller License with Ratings in Aerodrome and Approach Non-Radar Control in 1995.
Additionally, he has in the course of his career, obtained Air Traffic Control Ratings in Terminal Approach Radar Control, Area Airways Non Radar Control, as well as Area Radar Control Rating.
Prior to his appointment as NAMA’s Director of Operations on 12th December 2018, Mr. Pwajok was the General Manager Air Navigation Standards with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority from February 2017 to December 2018.
However, prior to his appointment in NCAA, the DOO had served in NAMA as the General Manager Safety Management System and Technical Assistant to the Managing Director/CEO. He also served as Deputy General Manager Air Traffic Control Operations, NAMA Headquarters, and severally as the Special Assistant to previous Directors of Operations.
He obtained his first degree from the University of Jos, where he graduated with a B.Sc. Hons in Accountancy, and then he obtained his Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Calabar in 2000.
It is not surprising that the Aviation Minister, being an aviation professional as well, has discovered the credentials and potentials of Mr. Pwajok, a man who gives his all to make things work.
As he settles down to discharge his responsibilities at a higher level (as NAMA acting MD), I call on all concerned- the government, his colleagues in NAMA and other aviation stakeholders to give him all the support he deserves to make a difference and continue to ensure safe skies.
In conclusion, I must commend the Hon. Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, for ensuring that NAMA, which plays key roles in aviation safety, is led by an experienced hand who has spent all his life eating, drinking and breathing Aviation Safety.
Frank Kintum is the Editor of Transport Day newspaper and a stakeholder in the Africa Transport Industry