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High Expectations As ICAO Safety Audit Progresses

…NCAA Pledges Global Aviation Security

Anthony Awunor

Stakeholders in the Nigeria’s aviation sector are full of anxiety and expectations as the four man team appointed by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) arrive Nigeria weekend. The team led by Steven Neu started the audit of Nigerian aviation security yesterday.

The Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA),Capt Muhtar Usman, who received the auditors at the international wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport stated that the objective of the Universal Safety Audit Programme (USAP) Continuous Monitoring approach (CMA) is to promote global aviation security through continuous auditing and monitoring of member – states’ aviation security performance.

He said this at a press conference where he introduced the members of the ICAO auditors as Steven Neu, Karen Zadoyan, Nuno Miguel Silva Ferreira Fortes and Wendy Mueller He stated that recently ICAO Council approved for all subsequent audits under the USAP – CMA programme, the adoption of CMA.

The Director General stated that the USAP –CMA was to enhance states’ security compliance and oversight capabilities by determining the extent of compliance of the state in implementing Annex 17 standards and related provisions of Annex 9. He stated that during the audit, ICAO would observe and assess Nigeria’s adherence to associated security procedures, guidance materials and security related practices.

ICAO, Muhtar said would similarly determine the sustainability and effectiveness of the states’ implementation of a security system through the establishment of legislation, programmes, regulations and a security authority with control and enforcement capacity.

The NCAA DG added that at the conclusion of the audit, recommendations and time windows would be provided for the closure of the open items and ensure compliance. On whether NCAA was ready for the audit, he stated that the regulatory was ready and that corrective actions have been taken on all open items through a developed and submitted plan. “In all modesty, I can confidently affirm that Nigeria is ready. You will recall that in 2008, Nigeria went through a similar audit and performed impressively.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has ensured that corrective actions have been taken on all open items through a developed and submitted plan.” He said Muhtar disclosed that Nigeria has five ICAO trained auditors, who are staff of NCAA, adding that these people undoubtedly have continuously deployed their wealth of experience and exposure to provide a comprehensive security regime for Nigerian airports.

NCAA, he stated had ensured the Aviation Security department was replete with well trained staff who have distinguished themselves in their oversight responsibilities. Notification of the ICAO visit was earlier contained in a statement issued on Monday by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and signed by the General Manager, Public Affairs, FAN Ndubuoke According to Ndubuoke, the team comprising of 4 members will look at the following areas: Regulatory Framework and the National Civil Aviation Security System; Training of Aviation Security Personnel; Quality Control Functions; Airport Operations; Aircraft and In-flight Security.

Other areas ICAO will look at are: Passenger and Baggage Security; Cargo, Catering and Mail Security; Response to Acts of Unlawful Interference; Security Aspects of Facilitation The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the nation’s statutory regulatory Authority responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP).

Speaking further, Captain Murtar said “in our preparations, adjustments have been made in some areas. These are response to ICAO’s compliance checklist, state aviation security activity questionnaire, state corrective action plan (CAP) and review of all relevant NCAA aviation security documentation which includes the National Civil Aviation Security Programme”. “Others are National Civil Security Training Programme, National Civil Aviation Security Quality Control Programme and Scheduled Inspections, Surveys and Audits of Airports nationwide”.

He equally pointed out that the objective of the audit is to determine a states’ capability for security oversight by assessing the implementation of the critical elements of a security oversight system, saying that thereafter, recommendations will be provided for contracting states to improve their security systems and oversight capabilities. The DG has therefore, reiterated his call on all stakeholders in the industry to join hands with the Authority to ensure another successful outing similar to the preceding Audit of 2008. The Audit will run for about 9 days and terminate on the 9th of June, 2014.

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