DIRECTOR General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu has weighed in on the theft of critical component in Arik Air’s aircraft stating that in his opinion, it was not a vandalization as whoever removed the parts had access, knew what they were after and removed professionally without damaging anything else.
This is just as he has decried the difficult of removing unserviceable aircraft at the airports despite several attempts stating that it causes all manners of challenges; including ramp congestion, and has safety and security implication while denying growth to the industry.
Captain Nuhu who spoke on sundry issues described the theft in the Arik aircraft as sad but stressed that the incident is an isolated one and not enough to categorize the nation’s airport security as porous.
He said,”All I can say, investigations are ongoing on the incident, but I won’t say it was a vandalization. What happened is that somebody who obviously knew where the aircraft is, somebody who knew obviously what he was doing, went to the E and E2 Compartments, walked in there and removed a component professionally without damaging anything. So, figure out that for yourself.
“As far as I am concerned, it is an ongoing investigation. So, we will wait for the outcome of the investigation. It is very clear that I cannot go to the very technical part of the aircraft and remove something there. I must know something about it and I am not new to the system. Whoever did that job knew what he was doing. The security agencies are investigating the issue.
On security at the airport, the NCAA helmsman said,”How many aircraft have been vandalized in Nigeria in the past 10 years? Let’s not use a single issue to destroy our country. This is one incident, which seems to have been done by a professional, maybe an insider. Have we had any case of people going to vandalize an aircraft in the last 10 years? This is one case and we should not use it to destroy the reputation of our industry.”
Also speaking on the difficulty of unserviceable aircraft removal at the airports despite several attempts in the past, Captain Nuhu said there were a lot of court cases which restricts FAAN from doing the needful but underlines the implications these aircraft have.
In Lagos, Benin, Kano, Port Harcourt, even Abuja there are so many unserviceable aircraft parked where development and expansion could have taken place, from Hak Air, Fresh Air, NICON Airways, Space world aircraft to Chanchangi, Kabo, Okada all rotten away.
He said, Even before the National Assembly made a pronouncement on unserviceable aircraft, we have made attempts to remove them, but unfortunately, a lot of them have court cases and there is a kind of restriction on FAAN. So, it is a difficult situation, but we are having a meeting sometime next week to discuss this and see what we can do.
“There are so many implications for these aircraft; it is congesting the ramp and to me, it has safety implications. It can have security implication and it denies the growth of the industry. Unused aircraft are parked and taking space where new and serviceable aircraft can take. So, it’s a very grave concern.
“We have discussed with FAAN even before the National Assembly talked on it. Court cases can sometimes tie your hands because if you go and do something, the court will fine you contempt of court,” He said regrettably.