- Explains Aviation Height Clearance motive is safety not money spinning venture
CAPTAIN Musa Nuhu, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has reaffirmed the autonomy of the industry’s chief policeman but explains that the body cannot work in isolation of the ministry because it has the political backing needed to make the job easier.
This is just as Captain Nuhu has said that Aviation Height Clearance (AHC) is a fact of life as it is a regulatory function of the body to clear mast height this has stirred controversy among the telecommunications sector but the Chief regulator say it is safety move aimed at forestalling any hazardous incidents not a money making venture.
The NCAA helmsman was a guest of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) in a Zoom Meeting on Wednesday addressed issues concerning the regulatory body but maintained that the CAA has never been more autonomous.
According to Captain Nuhu, no matter how independent the NCAA is, it must have a line of connection with the Ministry under which there are other bodies within aviation including service providers, the downstream sector so that a synergy to maintain sanity within the industry is established.
He said,” Yes NCAA has autonomy in the implementation of regulation but NCAA cannot totally remove itself from the ministry of aviation. The ministry of aviation is responsible for policy development and they plot the policies for the industry while we implement those policies through regulations and so we must have a line of communication and consultation with the ministry.
“If you look at the organizational structure of the NCAA, you have the minister, the board and you have the DG so we cannot totally isolate ourselves from the ministry but I can assure you, in terms of implementing regulations and otherwise, NCAA is the only body that can do that and we are doing that without any sort of interference from the ministry and you can agree with me that without the political support of the ministry, it would be difficult to implement some of these regulations. We implement our regulations irrespective of who is involved and the political support of the ministry and minister has made our lives much easier in implementing our regulations
According to him, anyone who wants the NCAA to divorce completely from the ministry is not being realistic, “as aviation goes beyond NCAA, there’s FAAN, NAMA NIMET, AIB,NCAT and then you have the private sector, the airlines, ground handling company so there has to be some connection between us and the ministry. You cannot say because we are independent in implementing regulations without interference, we can totally isolate ourselves”
On the Aviation Height Clearance (AHC), Captain Nuhu said: This height clearance is a regulatory issue, it is also in our regulations that has been passed and signed by the government so it is a function and we are dealing with all the communication companies and we are in contact with them some have made part payment and we are following them, working with them to get the remaining payment.
‘So its is a responsibility of the regulatory body and it is under regulations passed by the National Assembly and signed by the president. So its not a speculation, it is a fact of life,” Nuhu said.
Also responding through Director Airports and Aerospace Standards (DAAS), Engineer Odunowo Mohammed Tayib explained that it was part of the regulators responsibility to obstructions around the vicinity of the airport and ensure they are not a threat to safety.
He said,”Part of our statutory responsibility is to identify obstructions around the vicinity of the airport and what we have found out in the past there are all kinds of erected masts constituting these obstructions all around and the directive is they need to come to us to apply for what is called aviation height clearance certificate and what we do, we are not using it to make money, it is based on cost recovery it’s just simply cost recovery that is what we do.
“And as you recall these masts have constituted a lot of safety hazards for us, because there are accidents in the past and we don’t want a repeat of itself and so we are trying to do a better job of oversight of these thing and currently we are working on a database for obstructions, which if we can implement it that would enable the federal government contact If it goes live that would help and so we are not just using it unilaterally, we are trying to capture all the obstructions out there.”