Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), said the recent story making rounds about crashes of Nigerian airlines credited to the National Assembly will only make it difficult for Nigerian carriers to assess international funds, have good lease rate for their aircraft, and it may also hike insurance premium.
Nuhu who was responding to issues to reporters in his office also declared that airlines in Nigeria and their aircraft are safe and any aircraft that has a snag or deemed unworthy has been grounded.
The DG said, “I believe this statement came supposedly from the National Assembly and I want to believe there was a misquotation. I will leave it like that. Somehow, the story was twisted by whomever, for whatever to make a sensational story.
“What this has done is that it has cast doubt in Nigeria civil aviation with international community and what that will end up doing is that it will make it more difficult for our airlines to assess international funds, to have good lease rate for their aircraft, their insurance premium may go up.
“Of course, the twisting of the comment has created an impression that Nigeria civil aviation is not safe and I don’t think you want to put your aircraft or money where the system is not safe. It is unfortunate and that is not the state we are in. I can categorically state that all aircraft we are flying in Nigeria are safe and safe to fly. You can quote me on that,’ he said.
“I can categorically say that our airplanes are safe. The airplanes that are not safe have been grounded. Some aircraft have been grounded in Nigeria for months because they are not safe and we have insisted that the operators must fix whatever issue they have before they are authorized to fly.
“The standard as regards airworthiness of airplanes, even I as the DG I do not have the authority to waive anything as long as it is a safety related issue. All our aircraft flying are safe.”
Speaking on what has happened since the COVID-19 and how far the regulatory agency has come in terms of closing any gaps in the system, Captain Nuhu said everything was being done to make a good system better and more effective.
He said, “Well, unfortunately, we ran into Covid-19 when I came onboard. My first meeting when was on Covid-19 issue, but thank God, we are coming out of it and flights are resuming. What we have done some reorganization internally, we have move people around, we have moved people. We put square pegs in square holes and round pegs in round holes. That is the first thing we did and we had comprehensive training of technical personnel.
“We are training our people to make sure they are current, they are up to date so that they can have more skills and ability to do their jobs. We have insisted on all operators, I.e, airlines, ground handlers and co. we said they must comply with our regulations. This has led to the grounding of some aircraft because for some reasons, they were not in compliance and we insisted everybody must comply with the regulations.
“One of the regulations is the aircraft airworthiness; the crew must be properly trained, proficient to do their jobs. Everybody must meet the requirements of the regulators.”