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Nigeria, South Africa Enter Landmark Regulatory Pact on Aviation Safety, Security



by Chris AGABI

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) have signed a landmark deal that has signaled a gradual movement towards unified civil aviation regulation in Africa.

The deal will see Nigeria and South African aviation regulators share safety and security best practices with each other and also streamline regulations to foster smooth flight operations between both countries.

The deal was a highlight of the African Aviation Summit & Exhibiting held in Abuja 13th and 14th of September 2023 in Abuja.

The Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation, Captain Musa Nuhu signed on behalf of Nigeria, and Poppy Khoza, Director of Civil Aviation, South African Civil Aviation Authority, signed on behalf of South Africa. The ministers of both countries witnessed the signing ceremony.

This cooperation is fulfilling for Captain Musa Nuhu because he is a firm promoter single aviation regulatory regime in Africa as is experienced in Europe with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Captain Nuhu believes a single regulatory regime in Africa will unlock opportunities in aviation and enhance the implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) project was launched in January 2018 to give fresh impetus to the goal of liberalizing air transport across Africa and to fully implement the Yamoussoukro Decision. SAATM is projected to create 508,750 direct jobs and a $4.2 billion impact on African GDP in the long term.

Commenting on the deal, Captain Musa Nuhu said the deal is unique as the regulatory harmonization between Nigeria and South Africa will enhance the flight operations between the two countries to almost be like domestic flights.

“We will remove all the barriers and obstacles of operations between both countries. Going forward, we hope other countries will join us to see to the successful implementation of SAATM. This is a first step of a long journey” he said.

Also commenting, Poppy Khoza, Director of Civil Aviation, South African Civil Aviation Authority, said this is a step in the right direction for the two technical agencies.

“This is a technical cooperation agreement which is very technical in nature. We will be exchanging on aviation safety and security in particular. The Minister of Nigeria has indicated that one of his KPIs is to ensure that he upholds the highest-level standards of aviation security. It is the same KPI for my minister. Therefore, there are synergies between both ministers” she noted.

“So, we will be cooperating a lot. In fact, we are already cooperating, but it is a good time to formalize the agreement so that we are directed in terms of the parameters that we have set for ourselves and be to be able to measure whatever we have started today. This agreement we believe will be of great assistance not only for the two countries but for the African continent. In terms of elevating our safety and security posture,” she stated.

The South African CAA CEO further noted that “there will be no thriving and sustainability of aviation in Africa if safety and security aren’t prioritized. We believe that this will make an impact and we elevate our safety and security posture.”

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development Barr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, expressed excitement over the deal.

“This is an exciting day for us. You can tick this as one of my deliverables under my first KPIs. We need to learn from one of the countries in Africa ahead of us in safety and security standards. South Africa is doing 92 percent in terms of ICAO standards and Nigeria is doing 70 percent. By cooperating with SA, we are sure to close that gap and even exceed it. We will close the gap as soon as possible” he enthused.

He said under the KPI of the development of infrastructure, Nigeria also saw the deliverable of the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) from Embraer coming to Nigeria.

“This relationship will be symbiotic. If there are areas we need guidance, we will come to South Africa and if there are areas SA needs assistance, we will be glad to support as well” he further explained.

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Private Jets Operating Commercial Services to Lose Licences – NCAA DG



The Acting Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Chris Najomo has warned that all private jet operators operating commercial charter services risks loosing their licenses.

He gave the warning in Lagos on Friday during the media unveiling of his vision board for year 2024 tagged NCAA Project 2024.

The Ag.DG, who expressed concern over the illicit activities of illegal private jet operators in the country, said if private jets wants to operate as commercial or charter operators, they should apply for the commercial licences.

Highlighting the regulatory provisions, Najomo noted that only holders of Air Transport Licence (ATL) and Airline Operating Permit (AOP) with a valid Air Operator Certificate (AOC) are authorized to conduct charter operations.

He also stated that NCAA will cease offering services to all debtors, who have refused to payment the NCAA and federal government monies owed them, noting that almost all airlines are guilty of this.
Nigerian airlines are currently indeed to NCAA in billions of naira.

He also said the NCAA is committed towards simplified certification and licensing processes as this will ensure ease of doing business.

Najomo further stated that one of his 2024 projects is to Ensure improved staff welfare, training, retraining and reorientation of staff.

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NDLEA Arraigns SAHCO Manager, 7 Staff For Aiding Drug Trafficking



An Assistant General Manager of Skyway Handling Company (SAHCO), Olajide Ahmed Kafidipe, and seven other staff of the company, were today, arraigned before a Lagos Federal High Court, on charges bordering of conspiracy, unlawful importation and possession of 1, 440.90 kilograms of Tramadol.

Olajide and others were arraigned before the court presided over by Justice Deinde Isaac Dipeolu, by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The seven staff of the company arraigned alongside Olajide were; Sanyaolu Rasheed Oladele; Musa Mutalib Opeyemi; Sanamo Alla Daniel; Anuge Evans Isibor; Mahmud Agboola Musa; Udeh Felix and Obinna Henry.

The prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, while arraigning the SAHCO staff, told the court that all the defendants conspired with the trio of Mubarak Sarki Salami, Abdullahi Aliyu a.k.a Aboki and Anwal Monday, who also staff of the company but now at large, to commit the offences on or about October 25, 2023.

The prosecutor, Mr. Ibrahim further told the court that the Assistant General Manager of SAHCO, Olajide and other staff of the company, conspired amongst yourself to transport 1, 440.90 kilograms of Tramadol 225mg, a Narcotic, from SAHCO Import Shed.

The prosecutor also told the court that the SAHCO’s Assistant General Manager, Olajide, conspired with Sanyaolu Rasheed Oladele, and procured one Lawal Itunu Temitope, to transport the prohibited substance from SAHCO Import Shed in a Mercedes Benz Bus with Registration Number LAGOS MUS 269 YC, belonging to Platinum Pacific International Limited.

He further informed the court that another staff of SAHCO, Sanyaolu Rasheed Oladele, unlawfully possessed the said 1, 440. 90 kilograms of Tramadol 225mg, a Narcotic Analgesic.

The prosecutor told the court that the offences committed by the defendants, contravened sections 14 (b), 21 (2)(d) and 20 (1)(c) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. And punishable under sections 11 (b) and 20 (2)(b) of the same Act.

All the defendants denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Following their not guilty plea, the prosecutor asked the court for a trial date and also urged the court to remand them in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till the hearing and determination of the charge.

However, lawyers to the defendants, told the court that they have filed their clients’ bail application except that of the Assistant General Manager, Kafidipe Ahmed Olajide and Obinna Henry.

The lawyer therefore asked the court for a short date, to enable them file the bail applications for the duo.

With the development, the prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, urged the court to remand all the defendants in NCoS’ custody till when the court will hear their bail applications.

But the trial judge, Justice Dipeolu, in his reasoning, order the operatives of the NDLEA to call their Airport Commander, to allow the defendants to be remanded in their custody till tomorrow, January 17, when their bail applications will be heard and determined.

Upon the complied with the court’s directive, which was granted by the Commander, the court ordered the remand of all the defendants in NDLEA till tomorrow, while adjourned to January 24, 2024, for the commencement of their trial.

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Tinubu Sacks Heads of Aviation Agencies, Asks EFCC to Investigate NCAA’s Financial Transactions



In a move that has caught stakeholders in the Aviation sector unawares, President Bola Tinubu has approved the suspension, removal, and replacement of Chief Executive Officers under the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development

The Special Adviser to the President Media & Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale who made this known in a statement on Wednesday, said the leadership change is in line with the President’s determination to bring world class standards to Nigerian Civil Aviation in consumer protection and the promotion of the wellbeing of Nigerian passengers and other sectoral stakeholders.

Ngelale announced that the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Kabir Yusuf Mohammed has been removed from office and replaced with Mrs. Olubunmi Oluwaseun Kuku as the substantive Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

Also, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mr. Tayib Adetunji Odunowo has been removed from office and replaced with Engr. Umar Ahmed Farouk as the substantive Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Engr. Akinola Olateru has been removed from office and replaced with Mr. Alex Badeh Jr. as the substantive Director-General of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu has been removed from office and replaced with Prof. Charles Anosike as the substantive Director-General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency.

He further noted that the Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Capt. Alkali Mahmud Modibbo has been removed from office and replaced with Mr. Joseph Shaka Imalighwe as the Acting Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), pending the appointment of a substantive Rector, in accordance with Section 13(2) of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act, 2022.

Meanwhile, Ngelale announced that the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Shuaibu Nuhu has been suspended from office to enable the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct an unfettered investigation into the activities of the suspended Director-General and other senior officials in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, adding that Capt. Chris Najomo assumes office as the Acting Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority immediately.

“Furthermore, President Bola Tinubu approves the commencement of a diligent process to be conducted by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development to recruit a substantive Vice-Chancellor and other principal officers of the African Aviation and Aerospace University (AAAU).

“The President anticipates that the new leadership across this critical sector will uphold the safety, convenience, and comfort of the Nigerian people as primary and sacrosanct in all of their administrative activities.

“Due to the high cost of underperformance in the sector, the President demands the immediate establishment of world-class policy design, implementation, and regulatory frameworks to reposition the sector in alignment with his Renewed Hope Agenda.

“All of the above-mentioned directives of the President take immediate effect”, he concluded

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