Nigeria Scores 70% in ICAO Safety Standard in Air Transport Sector

•Country scored 90% in legislation, 89% in accident investigation, 56% in aerodrome ground aid

Chinedu Eze

After 12 days of rigorous scrutiny of the nation’s aviation sector, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has scored Nigeria 70 per cent in its initial report of the Universal Safety Audit Program Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP)- CMA that was concluded yesterday.

The audit involved the inspection, monitoring, review of the regulatory standards that guide the activities of the critical aviation agencies in line with ICAO recommended standards and practices.

The 70 per cent score is three per cent higher than the last audit which was carried out in 2016, where the nation scored 67.1 per cent, a positive development following the nation’s safety compliance.

The audit which took place between August 30 and September 11, 2023, focused on Nigeria’s capability in providing safety oversight by assessing whether the country has implemented the critical elements (CEs) of a safety oversight system effectively and consistently.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) represents Nigeria and was the focus of the audit.

According to ICAO, the audit enables the country to ensure the implementation of ICAO’s safety-related Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and associated procedures and guidance material and also provides ICAO with a means to monitor continuously the States’ fulfilment of their safety oversight obligations.

Breakdown of some of the audit reports showed that  the CAA in Legislation scored 90 per cent, a reduction from the 95 per cent it scored in the last audit while it scored 83 per cent in organisation, compared to its 100 per cent score last time around.

In the area of Personnel Licencing, the NCAA scored 84 per cent while it scored 62 per cent in operations compared to its last score of 57 per cent.

For Airworthiness, the NCAA scored 94 per cent compared to its previous 90 per cent in the last audit while the audit for Accident Investigation got a resounding 89 per cent, five points up from its previous 84 per cent score.

In the area of Aerodrome and Ground Aids the country scored 56 per cent while for Air Navigation Services it scored 44 per cent.

The audit final report was produced by the Safety and Air Navigation Oversight Audit Section (OAS) after reviewing and incorporating Nigeria’s comments to the draft audit report; it submitted it to the Chief, OAS and Deputy Director, Monitoring and Oversight (MO) for approval; thereafter sent it to Nigeria according to the timeline defined in the Memorandum of Understanding; and published on the USOAP CMA Online Framework (OLF).

Although the score was good for the country, but industry insiders said Nigeria could do better, as ICAO listed State Corrective Action Plans (CAPs). It advised that upon receipt of draft report, State may start to prepare the Corrective Action Plans, but to upload them onto the OLF (Online Framework only after receipt of final report.

“All points of findings are addressed, including associated implementation; CAPs include sufficient details to enable effective resolution of findings.

ICAO also stated that Appropriate Action Office is identified in the CAPs; and Realistic Estimated Date of Implementation is provided for all actions (short-, medium- and long-term).

“In other words, the gaps found in the audit ought to be corrected by the state (NCAA) and those gaps have been identified and realistic time for the implementation of the gaps provided in the short term, medium term and long term, creating enough time NCAA to fully close the gaps.”

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