NCAA To Audit All Local Airlines, Says FG

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The Federal Government says the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will carry out a comprehensive audit of all local airlines in the country.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, stated this on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Thursday.

He said that beyond the suspension of Dana Airlines and the ongoing audit of the airline, all other carriers in the country would be audited to guarantee the safety of passengers and the health of the civil aviation industry.

Keyamo, who assumed office last August following his appointment by President Bola Tinubu, has come under fire in the last 24 hours over what some civil aviation watchdogs described as “external interference” in the autonomy of the NCAA.

On Wednesday, Keyamo directed the the NCAA to suspend Dana Airlines, saying recent events of the local carrier raised serious concerns regarding both the safety and financial viability of their operations. The minister said the airline should remain suspended until the conduct of a comprehensive audit, a directive NCAA Director General Chris Najomo enforced immediately.

The suspension of Dana Air was enforced some 24 hours after one of the airlines’ planes skidded off the runway at Lagos airport.

Some stakeholders subsequently said it was wrong for the minister to direct the NCAA to suspend an airline, urging the Senior Advocate of Nigeria to respect the autonomy of the regulator.

‘I Can Direct NCAA’

However, Keyamo slammed his critics, saying that the law empowers him to direct the NCAA to do the right thing “in matters of national security”.

The minister argued that “a series of incidents had happened two years ago that the airline is not healthy”.

“Let those aviation experts take their wives and children to board that airline that was declared unsafe,” said a furious Keyamo.

“Would Nigerians have preferred that I keep quiet and be part of the cartel, all in the name of I am not supposed to interfere? What am I doing as minister?” he queried.

On how long the audit of Dana Airlines would take, he said, “It can be as quick as possible. Like I said, do the right thing, return to business. We must do the right things for the safety of Nigerians. Not only them (Dana Airlines), we will carry an audit of all of them, all of them. Let Nigerians be safe when they fly our airlines.”

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