Nigeria’s NCAA fails ICAO audit, gets 70%

Nigeria has for the first time since the audit of the aviation industry began over 15 years ago failed to scale the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme.

The country represented by the NCAA tried in its oversight function of the sector but failed to score the least pass mark of 75% in ICAO Audits with many opening gaps that must be closed within 60 and 90 days.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) scored effective implementation (EI) of 70% at the end of the ICAO USOAP – CMA audit that was concluded on Monday. The aviation regulatory body’s 70% score falls below the required pass mark of 75%, effectively making the country’s aviation industry not pass the rigorous ten-day audit of the country’s aviation industry.

Private jets on airport tarmac

The NCAA was found wanting in the area of training which drastically reduced the marks for the agency following huge gaps noticed in the training area of the examination.

The immediate past Director-General of NCAA, the late Capt Muhtar Usman’s attitude to training when he held sway at the head of the agency seriously contributed to the failure the country just recorded and one that has set the country’s aviation industry back.

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The audit which took place between August 30 and September 11, 2023, focuses on a State’s (in this case the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority) capability to provide safety oversight by assessing whether the State has implemented the critical elements (CEs) of a safety oversight system effectively and consistently.

According to ICAO, this enables the State 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.

Breakdowns of some of the audit reports show the CAA in Legislation scored 90%, a reduction from the 95% it scored in the last audit while it scored 83% in Organisation compared to its 100% score last time around.

In Personnel Licencing the CAA scored 84% while it scored 62% in operations compared to its last score of 57%.

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The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) performed extremely well and scored 89.25% in the ICAO audit, beating Canada’s  Transportation Safety Board which scored 64%.

The entire aviation industry has done relatively well in the audit, outperforming many bigger aviation countries; an indication that Nigeria’s aviation is on the right path.

One of the auditors who spoke to Aviation Metric under strict condition of anonymity said NSIB’s performance was very impressive and one that shows that the agency has performed creditably well and was poised to exceed expectations of many as to the incredible work the agency has been doing.

Recall that the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo Keyamo when he met with the ICAO team reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to civil aviation safety and achieving safety standards in the aviation industry.

The ICAO team’s visit is precipitated by the much-awaited audit of the nation’s airports and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme.

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The ICAO team said the Federal Government had spared no effort in preparing for the audit.

He said. “Nigeria is fully aware that ensuring a safe, secure, efficient and environmentally-friendly civil aviation system, with modern and adequate infrastructure requires adequately funded autonomous Civil Aviation Authority and an Independent National Safety Investigation Bureau, together with well-established aviation service providers.

DG NSIB, Engr. Akin Olateru

“In its bid to ensure continuous compliance with ICAO Standards and to meet the challenges of a rapidly growing air transport sector, the Nigerian Government has continued to maintain and reposition the industry for efficiency and the path of sustainable growth.

“Whilst Nigeria is not new to audits, no stone was left unturned in the preparation for this audit, to ensure a significant rise in the effective implementation of all the safety functional areas. Safety remains Nigeria’s priority, non-negotiable and it supersedes all other considerations for civil aviation.”

Wole Shadare