No Govt. Official Has Ever Put Pressure On Me To Take, Reverse Decision—Capt Nuhu
…Says NCAA DId Not Delay In Grounding Azman Air
… Regulatory Body Needed A Concrete Evidence To Sanction Airline
The Director General Of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu has stated that no government official has ever interfere in his duties or put pressure on him to either take or reverse a decision.
The DG’s response is coming on the heels of alleged ‘pressure from above’ for NCAA to take over the investigation of Air Peace aircraft burst tyre at the Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA),Lagos.
This is just as he said that it took the regulatory body time to ground embattled Azman Air because it wanted to have concrete evidence and also do a risk based analysis before taken decision considering the fact that grounding an airline has serious consequences.
He said this while speaking with the new Executive of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents(LAAC), who paid him a courtesy call at Aviation House Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA),Lagos at the weekend.
On why the recent Air Peace aircraft burst tyre incident at Lagos Airport was transferred from AIB-Nigeria to NCAA , the Director General, said that it was transferred to NCAA for further investigation because it was not a serious incident .
According to him, “We work hand in hand with AIB. It is even required by the regulations that we work hand in hand. When there is an incident, AIB-N goes to investigate. If it is a serious incident or accident, they deal with it. If it is not a serious incident, they hand it over to NCAA to inspect it, but when they did their investigation and they are okay, they hand it over to NCAA to work with the airline to ensure that the aircraft is put back to an airworthy condition before it can fly. AIB doesn’t do that. That is our responsibility. They were happy. They were working with it and they handed it over to us.
On insinuation in some quarters that there was pressure from above to transfer the investigation to NCAA, Capt Nuhu stated categorically that no Federal Government official has interfered in his duties or put pressure on him to either take or reverse any decision.
“Honestly, the support I get from the government, except the Minister coming here and sitting down, nobody in the government has ever called me and told me to reverse my decision. Nobody. There are times the Minister had taken some decisions. He was not aware of some information, and I call him and tell him and he reverses the decision. Nobody in government has ever called me to reverse or take any decision. I don’t deal with personalities, but what I see is the safe operation of the aircraft. I don’t care who is in the aircraft, whether he is the President or an Almajiri. What I see is the safety operation,” he said.
On allegation that did not act fast in ground suspended Azman Air, he stated was not in anyway slow in taken decision to ground Azman Air, adding that grounding an airline is not a punitive measure but to force the airline close the open gaps in the interest of safety.
“As a regulatory body, we take the issue of safety utmost. That is our number one priority including safe operation of our airlines, or any operator. However, before we take action, we must have concrete evidence. We must have a trend. We see what is happening and we do a risk based analysis and we decide to take action. This is because grounding an airline has serious repercussions. Both on the availability of service to the public and also to the finances and reputation of the airline. I don’t think we were slow.
“When we reached a point that we were not happy, we called a Zoom meeting. I could have taken the decision on my own, but I am a human being and I know I have my shortcomings. So, I called my entire team. We had a Zoom meeting for about 4 to 5 hours before we came to that decision to suspend their operations. I want to say here clearly that it is not a punitive measure. It is our responsibility and duty to guide and work with the operators and assist them to ensure that they are in compliance with our regulations,”
On the compliance level, the NCAA boss stated that the regulatory body had held meetings with NCAA team and that the response from Azman Air has been encouraging , adding that after complying with all the directives, the carrier would come out a different airline
“As I am talking to you, our team met with Azman team and we had a very good discussion. We told them what the issues were. We have written them before that and they responded. And we said we need to sit down with them. We had a virtual meeting. We had a very good discussion and they went through each of the issues one by one. I must tell you the response we had from Azman has been very encouraging and very positive. They are taking all what we have explained to them. Now they understand it is even better for them to improve their business model. I have seen a shift and I can guarantee you that by the time Azman complies with all what we want, the public will see a different Azman airline.
“That is our purpose. We are not here to kill anybody or to ruin any airline, but to guide them to operate safely, efficiently and to provide the necessary services to the travelling public. I just received a very impressive response from them concerning what they have done. We are going to start serious training for their people next week.
“Where we find gaps, they have already started employing people and they are really working and cooperating. Honestly, I am very happy and feel very relieved at their response to us, ” he said