The General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu has weighed in on the theft of critical components in Arik Air’s aircraft stating that it was not a vandalization as whoever removed the parts had access, knew what they were after and removed professionally without damaging anything else.
This is just as he has decried the difficulty of removing unserviceable aircraft at the airports despite several attempts stating that it causes diverse challenges; including ramp congestion, and has safety and security implications.
It will be recalled that suspected thieves a few days ago broke into an Arik Air aircraft parked at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, stealing valuable gadgets.
The break-in, according to findings, left the Boeing 737 aircraft grounded without its Flight Management Computer (FMC) and other accessories.
Nuhu who spoke on sundry issues described the theft in the Arik aircraft as sad but stressed that the incident is an isolated one and not enough to categorize the nation’s airport security as porous.
He said, ”All I can say, investigations are ongoing on the incident, but I won’t say it was a vandalization. What happened is that somebody who obviously knew where the aircraft was, somebody who obviously knew what he was doing, went to the E and E2 Compartments, walked in there and removed a component professionally without damaging anything. So, figure out that for yourself.
“As far as I am concerned, it is an ongoing investigation. So, we will wait for the outcome of the investigation. It is very clear that I cannot go to the very technical part of the aircraft and remove something there. I must know something about it and I am not new to the system. Whoever did that job knew what he was doing. The security agencies are investigating the issue.
”How many aircraft have been vandalized in Nigeria in the past 10 years? Let’s not use a single issue to destroy our country. This is one incident, which seems to have been done by a professional, maybe an insider. Have we had any cases of people going to vandalize an aircraft in the last 10 years? This is one case and we should not use it to destroy the reputation of our industry, ” he explained.
Also speaking on the difficulty of removing unserviceable aircraft at the airports despite several attempts in the past, Nuhu said there were a lot of court cases which restricted FAAN from removing the aircraft but underlines the implications these aircraft have.
He disclosed that in Lagos, Benin, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja, there are so many unserviceable aircraft parked where development and expansion could have taken place, from Hak Air, Fresh Air, NICON Airways, Space world aircraft to Chanchangi, Kabo and Okada Airlines.