NCAA: Improving Safety, Providing Leadership

Chinedu Eze

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the bedrock of the aviation industry, which performance determines the fortunes and misfortunes of the sector. In the last three years under the saddle of Captain Musa Nuhu, as the Director General, so much has happened in the agency.

The General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, encapsulated the mileage in the agency after three years of Capt Nuhu.

Adurogboye described the three years performance of Nuhu as a quiet revolution, which has been going on in Nigeria’s civil aviation sector with unmistakable “fingerprints of the team player and a leader per excellence.”

Adurogboye said under the Director General, great things are happening but they are happening gently, almost noiselessly. 

“Which is quite alright because the regulatory side of aviation is a rather conservative and reserved business; it thrives better where there is no noise,” he said.

According to Adurogboye, shortly after Captain Nuhu’s assumption of office on March 16, 2020, the world was struck with COVID -19, which prompted a total global lockdown. 

“But this was to bring out the best in him; the deadly pandemic elicited his innate leadership qualities. He swung into action and NCAA became the first Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to invent COVID – 19 Health Protocols and other Guidance Materials ahead of all other CAAs, including the global aviation umpire, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“The Protocols came in form of 48 accurately timed and well considered circulars.   Among them: ‘Targeted Exemption from certain Regulatory Requirements due to COVID – 19 pandemic: Flight Crew Proficiency; Exemptions from certain Regulatory Requirements due to COVID – 19 Pandemic: Flight Crew Recent Experience and proficiency; Post COVID – 19 Lockdown Approved  Training  Organization (ATO) Restart Plan; Revised Provisional Quarantine Protocol for Travelers  Arriving or Departing Nigeria; Exemption Documents, etc.,” he disclosed.

The NCAA spokesman said this eventually earned the Director General and the authority global commendations and awards, notably from the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC).  Numerous awards from other reputable organisations also followed.

NCAA, he said, was able to accomplish all these at a time that some organisations, both private and public, were downsizing, while others were placing their staffers on half salaries, but NCAA paid its employees fully and as at when due all through the lockdown owing to the frugality and savings made by his predecessor. 

“Capt Nuhu is also reputed for his equitable management of the authority’s scarce resources within the period of his watch. It is on record that under his watch, NCAA provided the needed leadership and the rallying point for the industry stakeholders during the lockdown period. This, he did by way of organising a series of virtual meetings to aggregate thoughts, opinions and ideas on what was being done, what was to be done and the way forward. No one was left out. Everybody’s opinions counted.  Stakeholders who attended those meetings applauded Capt. Nuhu for his capacity to listen to a wide range of opinions and suggestions but also for his firmness, especially where safety was involved.  All these activities were backed by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika. He personally attended some of the meetings, made vital contributions and also offered policy direction during that very challenging moment for the industry,” Adurogboye said.

He recalled that the restart of the industry after the lockdown became an easy task for the stakeholders as they were all on the same page.

“Nigeria is a Category 1 nation, meaning we are among what a one-time Director General termed as “the Premier League of nations” with sound safety records. It is not a mean task that this has been sustained over the years at a time others are losing theirs,” he said.

Adurogboye attributed this to hard work, training and re-training of personnel; recruitment of qualified, skilled, and experienced hands “in our inspectorate divisions”, which constitute the livewire of any aviation regulatory organisation.  

“The quest to attract and retain qualified personnel in sufficient numbers made Capt Nuhu to go all out seeking for enhanced and competitive salary package for deserving personnel of NCAA from the approving authorities.

“In between, he superintended the relocation of NCAA Corporate Headquarters from Lagos to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. This was made possible through the completion of the new office complex right at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja. The new arrangement means that Aviation House is now the Regional Office, Lagos. The DG believes that the Regional Offices are an integral and crucial part of the Authority. Recently, during a meeting with workers, he unfolded his team’s plans to strengthen the Regional Offices in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Abuja for effective oversight coverage of the entire country,” he said.

The NCAA image maker said all of these attainments, which Capt Nuhu always attributed to teamwork, are beginning to attract recognition from around the world. 

“Now, Capt Nuhu has brought NCAA back to the global aviation centre stage through the hosting of the 7th African Indian Ocean (AFI) Regional Meeting held in Abuja from 16th -20thMay 2022. This was a gathering of titans in the industry, including ICAO Secretary General, Director Generals of Civil Aviation Authorities from African Countries, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Association of African Aviation Training Organizations (AATO), Airlines, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), aviation journalists and other allied technical personnel,” he said.

That conference was a success and reinforced Nigeria’s prime position as major aviation nation in Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI) Region. Adurogboye attributed the success of the conference to Capt Nuhu, saying, “On the whole, NCAA can be adjudged to be looking up, and Capt Nuhuis leading to make it better.”

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