Experts in the aviation industry have opposed the establishment of the African Aviation and Aerospace University.

Speaking to our correspondent in Abuja, Aviation Round Table Secretary General Olumide Ohunayo questioned the establishment of the university, adding that the university should be investigated.

“There is no reason for that aviation university. Why call it a Public-Private Partnership when all the investments are made, both the land and the initial funds of N1bn, were provided by the FG? I think it is necessary to investigate that university because the government had nothing to do. What I see is more of a roadmap than a national interest,” he said.

Meanwhile, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, at a press conference last year in Abuja, announced that the aviation university will begin enrollment for the 2022/2023 academic session from September 26 to November 18, 2022.

According to the minister, the main objective for the creation of the university was the country’s need to enter into the development of field research in the aviation and aerospace areas.

Furthermore, he said that the aviation university would be a pan-African university, not limiting its admission of students to Africa only, instead Nigeria would be the focus.

He added that the Federal Government would partner with the University of the Nile.

Explaining why the university should be eliminated, Ohunanyo noted that the government-owned Nigerian College of Aviation Technology has almost all basic professional courses and some degree-granting courses, adding that the Senate approved an aeronautical university in Ondo State to handle aeronautical courses.

“How would you now spend N1bn, providing land just to have two courses? I think it was a misplaced priority. The minister was hell-bent on getting his way instead of looking at what is necessary for the aviation industry and the nation.

“Aviation college… not necessary. It is not a national requirement but a personal interest that has already been raised and I believe that at the appropriate moment it will be reversed.

He further said that the land for the construction of the university should be used as a satellite campus for NCAT or other major public facilities in the country.

“The country has so many public and private universities offering different air transport courses and numerous training organizations approved by the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nigeria. So what is this institution bringing to the table?

For his part, Top Brass Aviation President/COO Roland Iyayi said there were plans to upgrade NCAT to a degree-granting university that were never executed.

The former managing director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency said: “A couple of years ago the government agreed that NCAT would be upgraded to a degree-awarding university and that plan was shelved.

“When this government came and said they wanted to establish a university, of course, the argument may be that the quality of the lectures in the current NCAT may not be qualified to teach at the university because they are not graduates. Most of them are licensed professionals and for you to say you want to serve the university, you will need professors who have degrees or possibly some areas of expertise with master’s degrees.”

He said it was cheaper to upgrade NCAT to a university than to establish an entire university from scratch.

He argued that if the FG goes ahead with the projected university; would run into funding challenges.

“My position will be that, given the limited resources we have and the fact that the funding required to establish a university is huge, I will suggest that it will be more pragmatic to try to improve the NCAT as agreed in the previous administration. All they will have to do is establish colleges that have professors with the necessary experience and exposure to be able to run a new university.

“For NCAT, if you bring in the necessary resources, you will definitely need to change who manages it because you can’t put a pilot who doesn’t have a degree, who only has an ATPL to manage people with PhDs and Masters.

“Also, in order to do that, I think we need to restructure NCAT so that anyone who wants to become a pilot can also graduate in transportation management. There is nothing wrong with NCAT linking with Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and having ABU which is already a full-fledged university structure curriculum that will be linked to NCAT,” he added.