NCAA Suspends First Nation Airways Indefinitely

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) of First Nation Airways indefinitely.

The suspension according to a statement signed by NCAA General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye, is sequel to the flagrant and continuous violation of the terms and conditions of issuance of it AOC by the Airline thereby carrying out unauthorised and illegal operations.

Adurogboye in the statement added that the suspension was conveyed to the Airline via a letter on Friday, May 11, 2018 and First Nation Airways acknowledged receipt.

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“The letter revealed that when the AOC of First Nation Airways expired, the airline did not have at least two airworthy aircraft capable of servicing its  approved schedule as required by Part (ii) of Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (Nig.CARS) 2015.

“Consequently, the Airline’s Air Operators Certificate (AOC) was, upon renewal, restricted to non-scheduled operation, (Charter) only.

“However, First Nation Airways embarked on scheduled operations with continuous advertisement of its services and sold tickets at its Check-in counters in Lagos and Abuja Airports,” the statement read in part.

NCAA said it had earlier notified the Airline that it was investigating these violations. Subsequently, by a letter dated 31st August 2017, the Airline was directed to stop the illegal operations forthwith, warning that failure to desist would lead to a suspension of its operating authorisation.

“It was discovered that the Airline had disregarded all warnings and continued with the unauthorised and illegal operations in violation of its AOC terms and conditions of issuance.

“This is contrary to the provisions of Part of the Nig.CARS 2015 which provides that “Each AOC holder shall at all times, continue in compliance with the AOC terms and conditions of issuance, and maintenance requirements in order to hold that certificate.”

The Authority has therefore revealed that First Nation Airways is no longer fit to operate air transport business under the authority of the AOC. With effect from the May 11, 2018, the Airline’s AOC was suspended indefinitely.

In addition, the operators of the Airline are expected to return the AOC to the Authority’s Director of Operations and Training within seven (7) days of receiving the letter.

First Nation Airways is one of the eight indigenous airlines in Nigeria.

Rural Electrification Agency Gets New Board, Executive Management

Rural Electrification Agency Gets New Board, Executive Management

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday approved the appointment of a new Board and Executive Management for Rural Electrification Agency.

According to a statement by the Director (Press) at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Bolaji Adebiyi, the Board is now chaired by Mr Umaru Maza Maza, while Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi is the Managing Director.

Dr. Sanusi Ohiare was appointed as the Executive Director (Rural Electrification), Muhammad Wasaram as Executive Director (Technical Services), Yewande Odia as Executive Director (Corporate Services), while Alozie Mac and Rotimi Thomas were appointed as non-Executive Directors.

The statement further revealed that the President has since confirmed the appointments of some new heads of agencies in the aviation sector.

They include: Mr Saleh Dunoma as the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN); Captain Mukhtar Usman as the Director-General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Captain Fola Akinkotu as the Managing Director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

The statement said the appointments take immediate effect.

FG Sacks Directors Of NCAA

FG Sacks Directors Of NCAAAll 10 directors at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have been removed on the orders of the Federal Government.

The announcement of their sack was confirmed by the General Manager, Public Affairs in the agency, Mr Sam Aderugboye.

Those affected by the purge include the Director of Finance and Accounts, Salawu Ozigi; Director of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards, Dr. Joyce Nkemakolam; Director of Administration, Mr Aba Ejembi, and Director of Licensing, Mr Emmanuel Ogunbami.

Others are Director of Airworthiness, Benedict Adeyileka; Director of Air Transport Regulation, Justus Wariya, and Director of Consumer Protection, Adamu Abdullahi.

Also sacked by the Federal Government were the Director of General Aviation, Ayodele Sasegbon and Director of Human Resources, Austin-Amadi Ifeanyi.

No reason was given for their removal, but the affected directors have been asked to hand over to their immediate deputies.

In October 2016, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, had announced an impending restructuring of agencies, including the NCAA and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.

Governor El-Rufai, Aviation Officials Inspect Kaduna Airport

Kaduna airport, Avaition, Nasir El-RufaiThe Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has expressed satisfaction with the progress of the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Kaduna Airport.

The governor stated this during an inspection visit to the airport, ahead of the planned closure of the Abuja Airport for repairs of its runway starting from March 8, 2017.

He was accompanied by the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Saleh Dunoma, and that of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Mukhtar Usman.

Governor El-Rufai assured the passengers that would be using the Kaduna Airport during the period of adequate safety and security.

He also promised that all the roads and street lights to the airport would be rehabilitated before the end of February.

During the visit, the governor and some officials from the Ministry of Aviation inspected the ongoing work at the new terminal buildings and control tower.

He also urged the residents of the host community where the airport is located to cooperate with the government in its road expansion project, which he said would see to the relocation of their market.

Kaduna Is Safe and Secure

Governor El-Rufai disclosed to Channels Television at the end of the inspection that all arrangements have been put in place to ensure a hitch-free operation during the period.

However, he criticised those opposing the choice of Kaduna Airport as an alternative to Abuja, insisting that the state is safe and secure to host visitors that would arrive the state in March.

The governor further revealed that the state government had begun to repair the Nnamdi Azikiwe by-pass and the road linking the Kaduna Airport to the railway station.

He stated that the project is expected to be completed in good time, in order to ease movement of Abuja bound passengers to and from the airport.

Governor El-Rufai noted that adequate arrangement had also been made by the state government to provide buses to convey passengers to Abuja or to railway station, depending on the choice of the passengers involved.

In their remarks, the FAAN and NCAA bosses said that the Kaduna Airport has the capacity to contain the number of aircraft and passengers that would be using the airport upon the closure of Abuja Airport.

Senate To Probe Airport Renovations In Nigeria

Senate, AirportsThe Nigerian Senate ‎has announced plans to investigate the renovation work in airports across the country.

The slow pace of work at the terminal building of some airports prompted the decision of the Senate Committee on Aviation.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, made the announcement on Wednesday after inspecting the level of work at the airports in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital and Kaduna State.

He said that the officials of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the project consultants and contractors have been summoned to appear before the Senate Committee, to explain the reasons for the slow pace of work.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja where the oversight visits began, Sen. Uzodinma, who noticed that some buildings were begging for renovation at the premises of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), however, expressed satisfaction with the general level of work.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, on his part reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to establish a national carrier.

The Committee also inspected a number of ongoing and completed projects at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology in Kaduna State.

Sen. Uzodinma told the Rector of the College, Captain Samuel Caulcrick, that the Senate would provide an effective oversight function on the aviation sector, to ensure that all facilities were in place for the smooth running of the sector.

With the discoveries made during the tour of Abuja and Kaduna airports, the Senate Committee on Aviation reaffirmed its commitment to visit other airports in the country, to ensure that Nigerian airports are well maintained for effective service delivery.

Yobe Govt. To Construct First Cargo Airport In Northern Nigeria

Yobe, cargo airport, airport, NigeriaThe Yobe State government is set to award contract for the construction of the first ever cargo airport in northern Nigeria.

The state’s Commissioner for Works, Transport and Energy, Sirajo Wakil, revealed this on Monday in an interview with Channels Television in Damaturu, the Yobe State’s capital.

He said that the airport which would be for ticketing, cargo and located in the state’s capital, would facilitate the export of meat, dairy products, and gum Arabic among others which will be source of foreign exchange to the state.

Mr Wakil regretted that Yobe State was the only state among the 19 northern states of the country without an airport, hence the need for an outstanding one.

He affirmed that the state government had concluded plans for the award of the contract which according to him, would be the first of its kind in the Nigeria’s northern region.

The Commissioner also lamented the non-functioning of most airports in the north, saying they were constructed on the basis of ticketing which ordinarily according to him could sustain the survival of any airport.

He disclosed that regulatory agencies like the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigerian Meteorological Agency and the Ministry of Aviation had visited the state for the feasibility survey of the proposed airport and had certified the award of the contract.

Wakil assured the people of Yobe State that the Governor Ibrahim Geidam-led administration would complete all the ongoing road projects across the state despite the tough economic situation.

NCAA Bans Unauthorised Use Of Drones

Drones, NCAAThe Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has banned the launching of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (known as drones), in the Nigerian airspace without its permit and that of the office of National Security Adviser.

In a statement issued by the agency’s spokesman, Mr Sam Adurogboye, NCAA said that the move is part of the safety guidelines issued by the regulatory agency to drone operators following the proliferation of the technology in the country.

According to the agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is yet to publish standards and recommended practices, as far as certification and operation of civil use of drones is concerned.

In the meantime, the NCAA has put in place regulations and advisory circular to guide the certification and operations of civil RPA in the Nigerian airspace.

Court Dismisses Oduah’s Rights Enforcement Suit

Stella-Oduah-SenatorA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and three others.

The suit was dismissed for want of jurisdiction on Wednesday after the court had postponed its judgment twice.

Justice Okon Abang, who has since been transferred to the Abuja division of the court returned to Lagos to deliver the judgment in line with the new provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The judge ordered the former Minister to pay a cost of 15,000 Naira to the AGF.

Mrs Oduah had filed the suit in August last year, urging the court to restrain agencies of the Federal Government from questioning or prosecuting her over the purchase of two armoured BMW vehicles at a cost of 255 million Naira by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority under her watch as the Aviation Minister in 2013.

In her suit, Oduah claimed to have already been probed and exonerated by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and urged Justice Abang to declare that any further probe would amount to violating her fundamental rights.

The respondents in the suit were the AGF, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and the Inspector General of Police.

Oduah alleged that the ruling All Progressives Congress intended to use the respondents to persecute her, being a prominent member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

She claimed that the Federal Government had perfected plans to try prominent members of the PDP on trumped up charges in a special Lagos State High Court, so as to turn the country into a one-party state.

She begged the court to restrain the respondents from unleashing repression against her.

But the EFCC denied doing the bidding of the APC, claiming that it was independent.

It furnished the court with a petition dated October 18, 2013 written by a lawyer from the chambers of Mr Femi Falana, calling for Oduah’s investigation.

According to the EFCC, the said petition was captioned: “Request for Investigation of Economic and Financial Crimes of the sum of 255 million Naira by Aviation Minister, Ms Stella Oduah”.

The EFCC urged the court to dismiss Oduah’s suit.

But in his judgment, Justice Abang dismissed the EFCC’s objection for not complying with ‘Order Eight Rule One’ of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure.

“The EFCC did not file any opposition in line with the law,” Justice Abang held.

The judge, however, upheld the preliminary objection filed by the AGF, who challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Lagos to entertain Oduah’s suit.

Counsel for the AGF, T.A. Gazali, had contended that since the rights violation that Oduah alleged did not happen in Lagos, it would be a violation of Section 46 (1) of the constitution and Order Two Rule One of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure to entertain the case in Lagos.

“From the whole of the applicant’s averments, there is nowhere she mentioned that her right was or is being breached by the respondents within the territorial space called Lagos.

“There is nothing to show that the applicant was invited, arrested or detained in Lagos by any of the respondents in the suit.

“The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos cannot assume jurisdiction to entertain alleged breach of fundamental rights that did not take place in Lagos State,” Gazali argued.

Justice Abang upheld Gazali’s argument and dismissed Oduah’s case.

The judge also held that if the Federal Government had any valid reason to arraign Oduah in a Lagos State High Court as she alleged, it would not amount a violation of her right.

Meanwhile, in another judgment, Justice Abang also refused a prayer to stop the EFCC and the Department of State Services from arresting and probing a former Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs and the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku.

The judge dismissed Kuku’s suit for lacking in merit, but restrained the respondents from detaining him beyond 48 hours in contravention of Section 35(4) (5) of the Constitution.

NCAA Suspends Bristow’s Operation Of Sikorsky Helicopter

bristowThe Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended Bristow’s operation of the Sikorsky helicopter type.

This follows the helicopter incident that occurred on Wednesday in which 11 people were rescued.

The Bristow Helicopter aircraft A 5N BJQ, flying at 1,500 feet with nine passengers was earlier reported missing.

The NCAA said that its decision is a precautionary measure and would not in anyway interfere with the ongoing investigation.

It will be recalled that this same aircraft was involved in the August 12, 2015 accident that claimed 6 lives.

The Bristow helicopter carrying 12 people plunged into the lagoon behind Oworonsoki Police Station.

Court Fails To Give Judgment In Stella Oduah’s Case

Stella-Oduah-SenatorA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has again failed to deliver judgment in the suit filed by a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, seeking the enforcement of her fundamental rights.

Justice Okon Abang, who has been transferred to the Abuja division of the court, was in Lagos but he informed parties that the judgment was not ready owing to the workload of the court.

He, therefore, adjourned the judgment till February 17, pointing out that the 90 days stipulated for delivery of the judgment had not elapsed.

The applicant, Mrs Stella Oduah, who is also a Senator, had filed the suit in August, 2015, seeking the enforcement of her fundamental rights as guaranteed under the constitution.

In the suit, Mrs Oduah asked the court to make an order, restraining the respondents from probing her over the purchase of two armoured BMW by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority under her watch in 2013.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Inspector General of Police are joined as respondents in the suit.

Mrs Oduah contends that the respondents had planned to unleash repression on her, and try her on trumped up charges.

She asked the court to restrain the respondents from persecuting and humiliating her, under the guise of an anti-graft war.

On August 26, 2015, during the court’s vacation, the vacation judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, issued an order of interim injunction, restraining the respondents and defendants from taking any action pending the final determination of the suit.

Meanwhile, the AGF and EFCC had in a counter affidavit, urged the court to dismiss the applicant’s suit for lack of merit.

They described the applicant’s claims as baseless and speculative, arguing that the claims could not be justified.

On December 1, 2015, Justice Abang adjourned the case for judgment, after lawyers representing the parties adopted their written addresses before the court.

Bauchi Airport ‘Ladder Saga’ Earns Aero Contractors Airline Sanction

aero-Contractors-airlineDays after a Nigerian airliner, Aero Contractors Airlines, disembarked passengers from a plane with a ladder in Bauchi State, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) imposed an “applicable sanction” on the airliner in line with Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs).

According to the NCAA, the sanction runs into millions of Naira.

A spokesman for the NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, gave a hint about the sanction in a statement on Wednesday.

Contrary To Handling Manual

The Director General of the Regulatory Authority, Captain Muhtar Usman, said in a letter that the use of a ladder by Aero Contractors Airline to disembark passengers from Boeing 737-500 aircraft in a non-emergency situation was contrary to its approved aircraft handling manual.

A letter by Captain Usman read: “Therefore this is a violation of Part of NCARs which in part attracts a civil penalty. All relevant agencies made useful submissions during the course of the investigation.

“In view of the safety implications of your action you are hereby sanctioned in accordance with the provisions of Part 20.2.3(15) of the NCARs.

“Although the incident did not result in any mishap, the aircraft is airworthy and the Crew well qualified to operate the flight. However, it is viewed as a breach and resultantly a fine running into millions of Naira have been clamped on the airline to serve as deterrence and to forestall any similar infraction by any other airline operator”.

Captain Usman further stated that the Captain of the flight was similarly fined for failing to comply with the provisions contained in the aircraft manual.

The NCAA also urged all airlines to adhere strictly to Civil Aviation Regulations.

After the incident, the airliner released a statement, saying that the use of the ladder was against the airline’s wish and operation safety guidelines.

It claimed that although the airline crew tried to calm down the passengers to wait while the equipment was being fixed, the passengers insisted on their own volition to disembark against all safety protocol of the airline, using the ladder.

Aviation Minister Orders Probe Of Unauthorised Equipment

AviationThe Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has directed an immediate investigation into the use of an unauthorised equipment by Aero Contractors Airlines at the conclusion of a chartered flight to Bauchi on Saturday.

Reports received by the Minister on Sunday, revealed that the airline used a ladder to disembark passengers from a Boeing 737 aircraft at the Bauchi Airport on Saturday, December 19.

A statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs of the Ministry of Aviation, Mr James Odaudu, said that the act was inconsistent with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).

The statement added that the investigation would determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident, and will develop and implement measures that would prevent a recurrence of the unsafe and unacceptable procedure that exposed passengers to high risk of injury.

The Minister assured the traveling public that the Ministry of Transport, in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) would ensure strict adherence to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations as well as ICAO standards and recommended practices by all operators.

Aero Contractors Airline, in a statement explained that a special charter flight operated by Aero to Bauchi had problems with unserviceable equipment by the airport management in dis-embarking about 34 passengers from Abuja.

“Consequently, against the airline’s wish and operation safety guideline, the passengers used a ladder to disembark.

“However, at the time of boarding, the air stairs became functional and the passengers boarded successfully”,  the statement said.

The airline said it took adequate safety measures for the operation, including the airport’s ground staff crew to handle the air stairs equipment in Bauchi, but unfortunately, it became unserviceable at the point of disembarkation.

“Although, the airline crew tried to calm down the passengers to wait while the equipment was being fixed, the passengers insisted on their own volition to disembark against all safety protocol of the airline.

“Aero Contractors wishes to state that it is reviewing its safety measures with all charter operations to all airports to prevent such re-occurrence. Aero will continue to take adequate measures to ensure that its operations remain safe and secure”, the airline said.