NCAA certification delays deployment of N5bn firefighting simulator


Abiola Seun

Nigeria still spends huge scarce foreign exchange on the training of aviation firefighters in Cameroon and other countries abroad while the N5billion firefighting simulator equipment acquired by the federal government remains idle at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.

The multi-billion naira equipment is yet to be put into adequate use two years after it was shipped into the country due to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority’s (NCAA’s) certification.

It was gathered that the purchase of the equipment by the aviation ministry was to end the huge foreign exchange Nigeria used in training fire fighters in neighbouring West-African countries.

The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika had said, “we train our firefighters in Cameroon and I found myself approving several hundred thousands of dollars for training in Cameroon and I said this is not it.

” I applied and got approval to procure this firefighting simulator and the President graciously approved it.

“It will cost the nation about N5 billion and we started it and now it is completed and it’s ready for testing. It has been tested in front of us and you have seen it, it’s in perfect working order and condition and we will install it at the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, Zaria (NCAT),” the aviation Minister said.

However, speaking to journalists over the weekend, the Rector of NCAT, Capt. Alkali Moddibo said the reason the Academy is yet to deploy the simulator over two years after it arrived Nigeria was because the equipment is still undergoing certification process from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

Moddibo, who agreed that lack of deployment is fueling capital flight, said when deployed, the equipment will curb capital flight out of the country.

According to him, NCAT was still in the second phase of the certification process, assuring that once this is done, the machine would be deployed for immediate use.

He said, “The equipment is an automated firefighting simulator, which gives room for simulating incident and accident activities that require fire.

“The firefighting simulator is undergoing process of certification; we are in stage two of the process and NCAA is responsible for issuing certification for the equipment and it cannot give you the certificate until you are through with all the processes, which we are working hard on to get. As soon as the second phase is completed, the machine would be put to use.”

The firefighting simulator equipment was acquired from Messrs Alpine Metal Tech. Company after the officials of the government, including the Minister of Aviation, carried out the factory acceptance and pre-shipment inspection test of the equipment in 2019.

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