-by Barnabas Esiet.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has affirmed the safety of Nigerian’s airlines and aircraft for air travelers and operations. The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, gave the assurance at a forum in Lagos while responding to a statement allegedly made by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Sen. Smart Adeyemi that the industry was in critical condition.
Adeyemi was quoted as saying in a public hearing that the industry might soon begin to record plane crashes from if urgent actions were not taken to bailout the sector. He had said that the N4 billion recently set aside as a bailout fund for the industry by the Federal Government was inadequate to address the challenges in the sector. According to the lawmaker, the industry requires about N50 billion even as airline operators have resorted to cutting corners to avoid maintenance requirements for their aircraft.
For his part, Nuhu however, said he could categorically ascertain that the country’s airplanes were safe, noting that the unsafe ones had 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 authorised to fly, the standards as regards airworthiness of airplanes, even I as the DG, does not have the authority to waive anything as long as it is a safety-related issue.”
“All our aircraft flying are safe, “I believe this statement came supposedly from the National Assembly and I want to believe there was a misquotation, Somehow, the story was twisted by whomever, for whatever, to make a sensational story and what this has done is that it has cast doubt on Nigeria civil aviation with the international community.” Nuhu said.
He warned that the bad image could make it difficult for airlines to access international funds and to have a good lease rate for the operators’ aircraft, while their insurance premium might increase. “Of course, the twisting of the senator’s 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,” he said.