The National Assembly joint committees on aviation have paid oversight visit to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and other aviation agencies in Lagos to inspect facilities.

The committees were received by the Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Shuaibu Nuhu to the Authority's Lagos Office.

In his welcome address thanked the committees for their oversight visit and hands of fellowship extended to NCAA and others so far.

He also commended that 9th Assembly for passage of six amendment bills on aviation which will provide effective legal and institutional framework for the regulation of civil aviation in Nigeria.

During the presentation that followed, the DG enumerated quite a number of projects that have been embarked upon by the Authority in the last couple of years. Some of the projects (which are either completed or in the process of completion) include NCAA corporate headquarters building, Port Harcourt regional office and Kano regional office.

 Other laudable projects are ICT automation project, Abuja data centre, flight animation laboratory (plant science), electronic document management system (EDMS) regulatory safety oversight software (EMPIC) and unified communication (UC) which it has successfully deployed across Nigeria to facilitate seamless communication.

In the area of personnel training and capital development, the DG informed the joint committees on aviation how the Authority has been able to develop capacity to facilitate and deliver on these core mandatory trainings and courses locally. Some of them are Government Safety Inspector Personnel Licensing, Resolution of Safety Concerns (RSC) and Auditing Techniques. Beyond drastic closure of manpower gap, these domestications have been able to save NCAA thousands of millions in US dollars and reducing pressure on foreign exchange pursuits.

On the other hand, Capt. Musa talked about myriads of challenges the Authority are faced with topmost of which is inability to pay competitive salaries to technical staff to attract and retain them in required numbers. In addition to this is poaching of already trained inspectors by airlines who offered them more attractive salaries.

The federal legislators who were led by Sen. Smart Adeyemi (Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation) and Hon. Nnolim Nnaji (Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation) thanked the Authority for receiving them despite short notice given.

They expressed satisfaction with completion of these milestone projects which will go a long way in helping in effective discharge of its oversight responsibilities. Also, they stated that the newly passed bills will help in addressing some of the concerns raised by the DG when finally assented to.

On the other hand, the chairmen expressed deep concern over increasing cases of flight delays and cancellations across the country by domestic airlines, threatening to empower NCAA to grant any willing foreign airlines permits to fly domestic routes.

In response, Capt. Musa informed that joint committees the Authority has already set up committee to come up with suitable recommendations and sanctions to check disturbing spate of flight delays and cancellations by domestic operators.

He also mentioned that the Authority is planning extensive enlightenment campaign to educated travelling public about their rights and obligations to check the rising trend of incessant flight delays.

 Delivering the closing remark on behalf of the Authority, the Director of Finance & Account (DFA), Hajia Bilkis Sani thanked the distinguished federal legislators for the visit. She expressed optimism of better working relationship with the National Assembly.

 Also present to make presentation on behalf of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) was its Director General, Prof. Mansur Matazu.

 As part of their oversight visit, the National Assembly members also inspected facilities of both NCAA and NIMET (Nigerian Meteorological Agency) in Lagos. They expressed satisfaction at the levels of progress that have been recorded in the sector in the last couple of years, promising to continuously provide legislative support and collaborate with the ministry and the agencies.

On the side of visiting committees' members are Senators Smart Adeyemi, Biodun Olujimi, Clifford Ordia, Frank Ibezim, Olubunmi Adetumbi, Suleiman Kwari, Ayo Akinyelure, among others.

Others include Hons. Nnolim Nnaji, Musa Pali, Shoyinka Olatunji, Mustapha Saidu, Kasimu Bello Maigari, Abubakar Idris, Kabiru Idris, Mr. Gregory Okoh (Assist. Committee Clerk) and others.

Apart from a retinue of staff, prominent others present are Director of Finance & Account (DFA), Hajia Bilkis Adamu Sani; Director of Aerodrome & Airspace Standard (DAAS), Engr. Muhammed Odunowo; Director of Air Worthiness Standards (DAWS), Engr. Kayode Ajiboye; Director of Operation, Licensing & Training Standards (DOLTS), Capt. Elisha Bahago; Director of Human Resources & Administration (DHR&A), Alh. Adamu Wakili; and Director of Air Transport Regulation (DATR), Capt. Chris Najomo.

Others included General Manager (Corporate Affairs), Mr. Anthony Ayasal; General Manager (Department of Aero Medical Standards), Dr. Wilfred Haggai; Technical Assistant to the DG, Engr. Yakubu Mahmud; General Manager (Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO), Engr. Muhammed Sani; General Manager (Aviation Security (AVSEC), Mr. Akoja Okplefu; Deputy General Manager (DG Office), Dr. Iteke Ifeanyi; Deputy General Manager (ICT Department), Mr. Charles Ayeteni; Assist. General Manager (Public Relations Department), Mrs. Carol Adekotujo.

Earlier, the federal lawmakers had visited Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) to inspect completed and ongoing projects there.