An industry expert, Mr Ifeanyi Ogochukwu has advised that for better aviation in Nigeria the apex regulatory aviation Agency-Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) needs to be more firm in terms of regulating the industry.
Ogochukwu who is also a cybersecurity expert equally emphasised that NCAA needs to be more independent rather than refer to government when it is trying to do its work.
While advising that any issue that has to do with safety and security in aviation environment should be taken seriously, Ogochukwu cautioned that any smallest problem can become colossal damage which leads to loss of lives.
He said “NCAA should not look back in terms of ensuring that the standards are met with regards to aviation regulation and all of that.”
On the impacts of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on Nigeria Aviation, Ogochukwu said that ICAO has actually done a lot of training programmes for Nigeria particularly for the regulator.
According to him, when you have a strong regulator for the country, every other thing works. He, however, expressed pessimism if Nigerians are really feeling the impact of those trainings.
He is of the belief that, if the impacts were felt, Nigeria could have had better aviation, just as he urged the regulator to be more firm in terms of regulating the entire industry on ICAO commendation for Nigeria on security, last year, Ogochukwu said “So for me, security is a continuous thing and its demands that we don’t do security for security sake, we don’t have to wait for ICAO for oversight, No, we should actually have our internal self-regulatory system that does oversight for ourselves so that when ICAO comes, it becomes a fact that guys you guys are doing well and it would be trying to defend this and all that, so need to do continuous oversight for ourselves.”
Ogochukwu also pointed out that, when it comes to oversight, what ICAO basically looks at are basically your books and oftentimes, it is not about the physical environment and all that.
He said that, in as much as we have ICAO commendations as regards security but our security environment is not okay, it is still porous.
Explaining further, the security expert added “I mean you keep hearing of these entire stowaways and all of that, it is still happening. The point now is that we can do much better than we are doing today; our airports are not secured the way it should be secured. Take Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) for example, perimeter fence, where is it? There is encroachment on the airport land, people enter the airport and steal from aircraft that are parked on the taxi-way. We need to do better than what we are doing right because in as much as Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is doing what it needs to do but it is not enough; it is not adequate and we need to ensure that our airports are secured so that we wouldn’t have infiltration of people who have no business in the airport coming to create havoc.
Proffering solutions, Ogochukwu suggested that Nigeria needs to be more involved in the ICAO global affairs, adding “we are not involved in other things other than ICAO, most committees in ICAO Nigeria is not really involved; so we need to start pushing our people to join those committees.
The government needs to sponsor people, they might not be inside Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), NCAA, FAAN but specialists who are aviators they need to be part of these committees”.
“I give you an example, I used to attend ITU meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, there was one guy from Iran, he doesn’t work for the government but he has been attending that meeting for 40 years, he know everything about what is happening in the telecommunications globally, Nigeria needs to have people like that where they are still working or not because they become a guide to the next generation because they carry a history of what is happening in aviation globally”, Ogochukwu said.