NCAA FROWNS AT CONTINUOUS CPC ENCROACHMENT
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has expressed absolute displeasure concerning the incessant and stubborn encroachment in the entrenched statutory obligations of the regulatory authority by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
The blatant incontinence is flagrantly displayed by the CPC resuscitating already closed infractions by airlines and curiously attempting to provide a pseudo trial and administer sanctions without any known legal foundation.
The Authority is miffed due to the unwarranted duplicity of responsibilities and the needless demonstration of incoherence among government agencies.
NCAA wishes to point out that Section 30(1) (a) (b) and (c) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 gives the NCAA the general power to regulate civil aviation in Nigeria.
Without prejudice to the general power of the NCAA to regulate civil aviation in Nigeria, Section 30(2) (f) of the Act gives the Authority power to make regulations as to the conditions under which passengers and goods may be carried by air into,from and within Nigeria.
In addition, Section 30(4)(a) of the Act specifically bestowed on NCAA the power generally to regulate,supervise and monitor the activities of Nigerian and Foreign carriers,travel and other aviation agents operating in Nigeria.
With respect to aviation consumer protection, Section 30(4) (i) of the Act grants NCAA the power generally to investigate and determine upon its own initiative or upon receipt of complaints by any air carrier, air travel agent,consumer of air transport service or other allied aviation service provider while Section 30(4) (m) avails the Authority power to institute programmes for the protection of aviation consumer interests.
In similar vein, concerning aviation and allied services consumer protection, Section 71(1) of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 gives the Authority power to handle aviation consumer issues in these words:-
The Authority shall formulate schemes for suitable compensation of passengers and other aviation and allied service consumers arising from different forms of grievances.
Furthermore the exclusivity of the powers given to NCAA to do all the above is emphasised by Section 30(6) of the Civil Aviation Act 2006,which provides as follows:-
In the exercise of the powers conferred upon it and the discharge of its functions in this Act, the Authority………..shall not submit its decisions for the approval of or be bound by the decisions or recommendations of any person,body or organisation,but shall be guided by safety,security and public interest considerations.
It is pertinent to mention that the CPC Act was promulgated in 1992 an earlier date to the Civil Aviation Act of 2006.The CPC Act is a general legislation which deals ostensibly with all manner of consumer products and services.
Cases in point where the CPC had encroached are the Aero Contractors and Turkish Airlines saga.It is on record that NCAA has duly carried out investigations on the two cases and the respective airlines have complied fully with our resolutions and sanctions.
As a matter of fact, Press Releases were issued to publicise the Authority’s decisions on the two airlines. The passengers involved have expressed their satisfaction accordingly.
Against this background, the NCAA found it strange and confusing when media reports claim that the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation had written to Turkish Airline to comply with CPC request within 21 days.
The Regulatory Authority wishes the Attorney-General put into consideration all applicable laws guiding aviation consumer protection before a decision can be reached.
In 2014, the then Minister of State, Trade, Industry and Commerce and Supervising Minister of Aviation due to this multiplication of sanctions on airlines invited NCAA and CPC for a meeting and it was amicably resolved.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) therefore wishes to advise the CPC to steer clear of aviation and allied services consumer protection matters. It should allow the specialised agency of government responsible for civil aviation regulation with well trained and experienced personnel in such matters carry out their responsibilities.
GM, PUBLIC RELATIONS