NCAA UNDER A CAPTAIN’S WATCH5 min read
Captain Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
The strong but reassuring leadership of Capt. Musa Nuhu keeps Nigeria’s civil aviation
on course with the just concluded 7th African Indian Ocean (AFI) Regional Meeting in
Abuja. By Sam Adurogboye
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world”
— Mahatma Gandhi.
Permit me to start this conversation with a reference to the statement credited to
Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most iconic leaders who ever lived. While this is in no way
an attempt to make comparisons, Gandhi’s timeless words and his calm, peaceful
approach to tackling some of the world’s most intractable problems fit perfectly into the
style of the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Civil Aviation
Authority (NCAA) Captain Musa Shuaibu Nuhu.
A quiet revolution has been going on in Nigeria’s civil aviation sector, and it has the
unmistakable fingerprints of the team player and a leader par excellence, Captain Nuhu.
Great things are happening but they are happening gently, almost noiselessly. This is
quite alright because the regulatory side of Aviation is a rather conservative and
reserved business; it thrives better where there is no noise. In fact, it is safe to say that
Gandhi could as well have been referring to Captain Nuhu.
Shortly after Captain Nuhu’s assumption of office on the 16th of March, 2020, the world was
struck with COVID -19, which prompted a total global lockdown. But this was to bring
out the best in him. The deadly pandemic elicited his innate leadership qualities. He
swung into action and NCAA became the first Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to invent
COVID – 19 Health Protocols and other Guidance Materials ahead of all other CAAs,
including the global aviation umpire, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The Protocols came in form of 48 accurately timed and well-considered circulars.
Among them: ‘Targeted Exemption from certain Regulatory Requirements due to
COVID – 19 pandemic: Flight Crew Proficiency; Exemptions from certain Regulatory
Requirements due to COVID – 19 Pandemic: Flight Crew Recent Experience and
proficiency; Post COVID – 19 Lockdown Approved Training Organization (ATO)
Restart Plan; Revised Provisional Quarantine Protocol for Travelers Arriving or
Departing Nigeria; Exemption Documents, etc.
These eventually earned the Director-General and the Authority global commendations
and awards, notably from the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC). Numerous
awards from other reputable organisations also followed.
NCAA was able to accomplish all these at a time when some organisations, both private
and public, were downsizing, while others were placing their staffers on half salaries.
NCAA paid its employees fully and as when due all through the lockdown owing to
the frugality and savings made by his predecessor. Capt Nuhu is also reputed for his
equitable management of the Authority’s scarce resources within the period of his
It is on record that under his watch, NCAA provided the needed leadership and the
rallying point for the industry stakeholders during the lockdown period. This, he did by
way of organising a series of virtual meetings to aggregate thoughts, opinions and ideas
on what was being done, what was to be done and the way forward. No one was left
out. Everybody’s opinions counted. Stakeholders who attended those meetings
applauded Capt. Nuhu for his capacity to listen to a wide range of opinions and
suggestions but also for his firmness, especially where safety was involved.
All these activities were backed by the Honorable Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika. He
personally attended some of the meetings, made vital contributions and also offered
policy direction during that very challenging moment for the industry.
The restart of the industry after the lockdown became an easy task for the stakeholders
as they were all on the same page.
Nigeria is a Category 1 nation, meaning we are among what a one-time Director
General termed as “the Premier League of nations” with sound safety records. It is not a
mean task that this has been sustained over the years at a time others are losing theirs.
But quite a number of factors have combined to work in favour of the Authority. Firstly,
God has been in total control.
Then followed by hard work, training and re-training of
personnel. Recruitment of qualified, skilled, and experienced hands in our Inspectorate
Divisions, constitute the livewire of any aviation regulatory organisation. The
quest to attract and retain qualified personnel in sufficient numbers made Capt Nuhu
go all out seeking for enhanced and competitive salary package for deserving personnel
of NCAA from the approving Authorities.
In between, he superintended the relocation of NCAA Corporate Headquarters from
Lagos to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. This was made possible through the
completion of the new office complex right at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport,
Abuja. The new arrangement means that the Aviation House, Lagos, is now the Regional Office.
The DG believes that the Regional Offices are an integral and crucial part of the
Recently, during a meeting with workers, he unfolded his team’s plans to
strengthen the Regional Offices in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Abuja for
effective oversight coverage of the entire country.
All of these attainments, which he has always ascribed to teamwork, are beginning to
attract recognition from around the world. On one occasion a medium captioned it,
“Nuhu in Harvest of Awards.’’ So it has indeed been Harvest of Awards.
Now, Capt Nuhu has brought NCAA back to the Global Aviation Centre Stage through
the hosting of the 7th African Indian Ocean (AFI) Regional Meeting held in Abuja from
16th -20th May 2022. This was a gathering of titans in the industry, including ICAO
Secretary-General, Director Generals of Civil Aviation Authorities from African
Countries, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Association of African Aviation
Training Organizations (AATO), Airlines, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian
Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN),
Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology
(NCAT), Aviation Journalists and other Allied Technical personnel.
The meeting was declared open by Sen. Hadi Sirika, Hon Minister of Aviation, on
Monday 16th of May, 2022. Capt. Nuhu warmly welcomed the guests while the
International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) Secretary-General, Juan Carlos Salazar,
delivered a strong goodwill message. The Meeting immediately broke into technical
sessions that were closed to the public. In the course of the discussion, reports from
various committees and groups were considered, reviewed and a final outcome came
out by Friday of that week, and it was adopted.
This final outcome is tailored toward charting a new course of action for the enhancement of the safety of Air Navigation in the African continent and the world as a whole.
On the whole, NCAA can be adjudged to be looking up, and Capt Nuhu is leading to make it better.
By-: Samuel Adurogboye,
General Manager, Public Relations,
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority