By Lawani Mikairu
Airline Operators of Nigeria , AON, Thursday said that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ,NCAA, has been thorough and transparent in its process of renewal and issuance of Air Operators’ Certificate , AOC .
This was disclosed by the Vice Chairman of AON, Allen Onyema, while reacting to allegations by a chattered operator, Tropical Arctic Logistics (TAL), that NCAA colluded with a foreign operator to thwart its application for an AOC. He said AON has confidence in the agency , saying it is not corrupt.
Onyema who spoke on behalf of the body during the reception for Air Peace fourth brand new Embraer 195-E2 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja said the regulatory agency has never demanded bribe from any of its members and neither has any airline offered one.
Recall the chief executive officer of TAL, Emperor Baywood Ibe had told the media that he has evidence to prove that a staff of NCAA connived with NHV, a Danish operator, to ensure that its AOC was not renewed and that the agency has the habit of frustrating domestic airlines out of business.
But the AON Vice President said : “Something happened a month ago where an operator went to the press to allege that NCAA is corrupt and that you have to bribe your way to get AOC and because they didn’t pay bribe, they were not given AOC. We want to state here categorically that the AON has implicit confidence in the NCAA”.
” The other CAAs of the world does not do what NCAA does for us in terms of safety oversight. But in Nigeria, we do not recognize our own. None of us has bribed anybody to get our AOC renewed. I have stayed for seven years in this business, some other members of the board of trustees of AON have stayed for about 25 years in this business and all of them have said that nothing like that has ever happened to them because even if the NCAA is not perfect, they are doing so much for the industry.”
“Your applications may be delayed, maybe because of lack of manpower because there is so much to be done. There are up to 23 airlines jostling to get AOC and you cannot create equal number of oversight inspectors to carry out their functions. But this does not mean that the NCAA is corrupt if you fail to get your AOC on time. Air Peace AOC expired before we were able to get another one and not because anyone demanded money from us and we never gave anyone money. The situation was created by covid because at that time, the NCAA like other CAAs in the world were working from home.”
“We are calling on the international community to discountenance any statements that portrays our NCAA in a bad light. Most of us would want to apply for AOC today and get it tomorrow but one incident or accident may bring the entire industry down. We want to dissociate ourselves from whatever anyone must have said, it is not coming from us and it never came from us. We have confidence in the NCAA being led by Capt. Musa Nuhu”.
“Nobody bullies the CAA of any country to do your bidding, it is not done. When that issue came up, we intervened as a body. We stand on the side of truth and some of you are conversant with what is happening at the CAA. I have an application to fly to the UK and it has been delayed for the past three years and no one at NCAA has asked me for money.”
” The truth is that the NCAA does not ask us for bribe. If someone asks you for bribe, you should be able to provide the evidence.
“NCAA might be deficient in some areas but it is not a corrupt agency. The international community is stigmatising this country and we are also stigmatizing ourselves and it is not fair,” Onyema said.