The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit team has commenced the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) on Nigeria’s aviation industry.
The audit commenced on the 30th of August 2023 and will end on the 11th of September, 2023.
The Federal Government has expressed confidence on Nigeria’s preparedness for the full blown audit.
The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Barr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) gave the assurances at the opening ceremony of the ICAO USOAP audit at the NCAA Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that Nigeria will come out of the audit without blemish.
He said Nigeria’s aviation safety is always sacrosanct hence its zero tolerance to safety breaches by operators. This is even as .
“Safety remains a priority, non-negotiable and it supersedes all other considerations for us. As aviation is global, it is therefore a Hobson’s choice for us as a government to keep investing in aviation infrastructures and facilities in addition to adopting workable policies to ensure flight operations are safe and in tune with global standards” the Minister emphasized.
“I can confidently affirm that Nigeria is ready. We are not new to audits. The impeccable safety credentials of Nigeria aviation driven by the NCAA earned Nigeria Category One status by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (US FAA) since 2010. Nigeria still retains its glorious status after a series of audits. In June 2015 and March 2016 (the last time), Nigeria outstandingly went through the Universal Safety Audit Programme (USAP) Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA) Audit and another ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) among other landmark feats” he noted.
“We are prime to excel again in all aspects as Nigeria has a lot to ride on, including the modest credentials of the existing regime of robust regulations and a decade of zero accident in scheduled flight operation” he further stated.
“I want to assure all present that the audit is usually the top priority of the entire aviation agencies and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is on top of her game, coordinating activities of other sister agencies towards ensuring that corrective actions have been taken on all noticeable safety gaps. This is with a view to ensuring Nigeria comes out in her traditional flying colours this time around” Mr. Keyamo assured.The FG also reiterated that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has its full backing and full autonomy to oversight the aviation industry without compromises.
Barr. Keyamo further noted that without an iota of doubt, “the accomplishment of this audit is a shared national responsibility and as such, it has been the focus of the Federal Government. We are fully aware that ensuring safe, secure, efficient and environmentally-friendly, with modern and adequate infrastructure require a robust industry.”
“In its bid to ensure continuous compliance with ICAO Standards and to meet the challenges of a rapidly growing air transport sector, Nigerian Government has continued to maintain properly-funded autonomous agencies to reposition the industry for efficiency and the path of sustainable growth” he stated.
Going down memory lane he said “in 2022 the establishment instruments of these agencies were reviewed and signed into laws by former President Muhammadu Buhari to further entrench safety, security and ensure compliance with international best practices. These include the Civil Aviation Act 2022 to provide for an effective legal and institutional framework for the regulation of civil aviation in Nigeria; and the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) Act 2022 now expands its functions to investigate accident and serious incidents in marine, road and rail”
“Others are the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act 2022 to provide for the effective management of airports in Nigeria; the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency Act 2022 to ensure safety and regularity of air navigation; the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Act 2022 to provide for comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the regulation of meteorological services including aeronautical meteorology; and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act 2022 to provide for its organisation, control and operation” he said.
The ICAO audit will be covering eight audit areas which makes it a full audit.
These areas are Safety Oversight and Regulatory System, Personal Licensing, Aircraft Operations, Airworthiness, Accident Investigation, Air Navigation Services, and Aerodrome and Ground Aids.
At the end of the audit of these areas, it will prove that the the NCAA has capability of safety oversight of the Nigerian aviation industry.