Tropical Arctic Logistics, a Lagos based non scheduled domestic airline operator has accused Nigeria Civil Aviation airworthiness department of incompetence, corruption and collusion with foreign firm to shut art down. TAL accused an official of the Airworthiness Department of NCAA of colluding with a foreign firm to shut down its operations by refusing to renew its Air Operator Certificate, AOC. In a swift reaction Director General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu has asked TAL management to prove its allegations or remain silent. The Chief Operating Officer, COO, of TAL, Engineer Olufemi Adeniji while addressing the media alleged that the Airworthiness Department of NCAA stinks as the officials in the unit deliberately refused to clear airline operators to have their AOC renewed.
Adeniji specifically alleged that he has verifiable evidence to prove that a staff of NCAA connived with NHV, a Danish operator, to ensure that TAL Air Operator Certificate (AOC) was not renewed. He said for over one year, TAL’s operations have been grounded as the regulatory agency declined its request for an extension and renewal of its AOC causing it to lose over $7 million dollars following its closure. He also alleged that although TAL met all the requirements for its AOC renewal, NCAA still declined its request. He said ”TAL has decided to follow the due process no matter how long it takes without compromising. However, in life there is a limit to everyone’s patience especially when it pertains to corruption which has become a threat to one’s investment. TAL has reached its limit and has decided to suspend its actions in following through with its AOC renewal despite concluding on phase 3 of the so-called renewal process. The renewal process in Nigeria does not align with international practice although it is supposed to be same ICAO procedure.
“Manuals were submitted and resubmitted with amendments as it was said that some were lost by the NCAA Airworthiness Department, MCM, AMP, MEL after 7 months of submission. It is on record that attempts were made to heap the blame on Covid-19. New manuals were reprinted and re submitted, and surprisingly the lost manuals were found. TAL reviewed these manuals using NCAA Checklist as requested by officials to help avert any delay, even with this having been complied with, the AOC renewal was still delayed by Airworthiness Department of NCAA, Consequently, operations have been grounded due to unusual delay. TAL decided to apply for extension of its AOC in a letter dated 14th December, 2020 to avoid total grounding, this was again denied,” the TAL COO said.
Reacting to TAL allegations, the Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu described the allegations of Tropical Arctic Logistics, TAL , of corruption within the Authority system as baseless and unfounded. He said TAL has not met the regulatory requirements for the renewal of its Air Operator Certificate, AOC, adding that until TAL meets the requirements, no amount of blackmail, accusations would move the NCAA to renew its AOC in violation of the NCARs and ICAO.
According to Captain Nuhu : “NCAA has no reason whatsoever to refuse the renewal of anybody’s application. TAL does not meet the requirements for the renewal of its AOC and its AOC will not be renewed until they meet all the regulatory requirements, simple nothing more, nothing less.”
“When they meet the requirements TAL who is an operator, NCAA is the regulator and NCAA is the one that issues the certificate and NCAA is the one that is in the position to determine if TAL has largely met the requirements for AOC, the Operator cannot determine for himself, we are the regulator and when they meet the regulator requirements they are certified and their AOC is issued”. On the allegations against one of his staff alleged to have been involved in illegal deal as regards the AOC renewal, the DG said : “let him talk, let him bring the evidence, you can’t go to the market and start yelling throwing false accusations and there is no evidence, let him bring evidence and let him speak for himself. If he has evidence of the accusations he is making about one of my staff who has absolutely nothing to do with the renewal of TAL’s AOC, AOC is renewed by a team, it is a team it is not an individual”.
“Engr Godwin Balang is not a member of that TAL AOC renewal team so, how can he stop it, I don’t understand, Engr. Balang has absolutely nothing to do with TAL and no single individual in NCAA can or is able to stop even the process of any airline only the DG on his own . Even the DG, I must have valid reasons to stop that, I can’t just stop it because I don’t like your face or have a disagreement with you. I must have a legitimate and valid reasons to stop it, no other individual in the system, AOC process we know is done by a team”. According to the DG, investigation had been conducted in-house and nothing of TAL’s accusation was found within, he therefore advised the operator to channel its energy to working hard in meeting the regulatory requirements for AOC renewal rather than making false accusations. “Who told you I have not done my in-house investigation? He is out there assuming I didn’t do my in-house check, that’s one of the assumption he is making, I did my own investigation, I did my in-house cleaning, confirmation and there is nothing there and as far as am concerned, there is nothing officially or professionally not aware of in my investigation, how does he know have done this? He says am misinformed, he does not know the process I went through or the information have got. Well, he is entitled to his own opinion, the truth is sacred”, Captain Nuhu added.