‘How homegrown capacity retains FAA’s category one status’
Sirika, while receiving the certificate said it was the first time Nigeria would go through the recertification exercise without engaging foreign consultants and the result was quite an achievement.
It will be recalled that the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week reissued Nigeria a Category One rating, following the safety audit and assessment conducted last November. By the rating, designated Nigerian airlines can make direct flight to U.S. and American Airlines can continue to fly to Nigeria.
Sirika, who was presented with the Category One certificate recently in Lagos, said the feat was a demonstration of improved capacity at the apex regulatory body.
He said Nigeria is replete with qualified and competent personnel in the NCAA, to ensure safety in line with standards and recommended practices as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
He said: “I thank the Director General (DG) and his team for doing us proud to retain the category one certification, which has been presented to me. The travelling public might not know but we in aviation are aware of the feat.
“They will not see the amount of work the NCAA does because it is not the physical infrastructure that they are used to seeing. Some are even thinking that the NCAA is the least important of the agencies. But that is far from the truth, as the amount of work the NCAA puts in to ensure safety makes it the apex body and we are very proud of you.”
Sirika added that some consultants approached him with requests that they wanted to do the audit for a fee. “I listened to them and was told they were pivotal to our achieving Category one in 2010. After hearing them out, I called the DG of NCAA and asked if we needed them and he said we could do it by ourselves.”
He said further that what made it great was the fact that the funding was also internally raised as the NCAA did not borrow funds from any sister agency for the purpose.
Nigeria first achieved the Category one status in 2010 and sustained it in 2014.
Director General of NCAA, Capt. Usman Muhtar, said details of the certificate from the FAA certified that the country had scaled through the audit exercise for retention of Category one status.
Spokesperson of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said for Nigeria to attain and retain the status means the country was able to sustain a good performance and record of safety, adding that with the feat “Nigeria now belonged to the top echelon of countries that are compliant with aviation international standards.”
Adurogboye said Nigeria scaled the hurdle contrary to the expectation of many critics. “We got it surprisingly because Nigerian people have concluded that we will lose it. But for us in NCAA, we know we are doing the right thing.
“The personnel are here and of course with the efforts we have put in place, our oversight functions, training, regulations are being updated regularly; from 2009 they were upgraded in 2012. Again, we reviewed in 2015. We keep updating whatever we have. Globally, we are there.”
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