Tuesday, 2 May 2017

NIGERIA: Crew Member Suspendended For Testing Positive To Marijuana


An aviation crew member has been suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for testing positive to marijuana.

The crew member, whose identity wasn’t revealed by the agency, tested positive during random alcohol and drug tests on licensed aviation personnel, conducted by the agency.

A statement signed by the General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said the agency conducted the test in compliance with a directive from the Director-General, Muhtar Usman, after issuing a circular to stakeholders in the industry.

According to the NCAA , 87 personnel from Air Peace , Medview Airline and Air Traffic Controllers of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency were randomly tested as they were about to embark on flight operations and air traffic control duties.

The statement, however, said that out of the 10 pilots and 19 cabin crew from Air Peace Limited, nine pilots and 32 cabin crew members from Med -View Airline, and 10 licensed air traffic controllers and six trainees from the control tower and Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria Centre of NAMA, one crew member tested positive to a psychoactive substance , Tetrahydro-cannabinol, also known as marijuana.

The crew member, NCAA said, was immediately suspended from carrying out further flight operations, adding that further investigations were later carried out to ascertain the quantity of the substance in the urine sample of the crew member.

The crew member violated the provisions of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, the statement said.

The offending air crew has been suspended in accordance with the provisions of Part 2 . 11 . 1 . 8 (f) (i) and Part 2 . 11 . 1 . 7 (c ) of Nig . CARs 2015. His medical certificate and licence have been suspended for 180 days from the 5th day of April , 2017, it added.

Accordingly , the respondent shall cease to exercise the privileges of the licence for the period of his suspension.

In addition, the crew member shall within seven days of receipt of the letter of sanction hand over his licence to the authority’ s director of licensing, and shall undergo a comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation for psychoactive substance abuse during the suspension period under the care of a consultant psychiatrist.

According to the statement, the NCAA will continue to carry out consistent surveillance on the aviation industry to ensure full compliance with extant regulations, adding that failure will attract adequate sanction.

Meanwhile, the statement said the report of the consultant psychiatrist will be reviewed by its consultant psychiatrist adviser, adding that it would enable it to consider possible restoration of the suspended medical certificate and licence.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has imposed an applicable sanction on Aero Contractors Airlines in line with Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations.

This is in response to the airline’s breach of safety regulations when it used a ladder to disembark passengers at the Bauchi airport on Saturday.

In a letter conveying the sanction, the Director General of the regulatory agency, Capt. Muhtar Usman, said the action of the airline in allowing the use of a ladder to disembark passengers from a Boeing 737-500 aircraft in a non-emergency situation, was contrary to its approved aircraft handling manual.

Therefore this is a violation of Part 9.2.4.2(b) of Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, which attracts a civil penalty.

All relevant agencies made useful submissions during the course of the investigation, NCAA said in a statement yesterday.

The director general also said in the letter that “in view of the safety implications of your action you are hereby sanctioned in accordance with the provisions of Part 20.2.3(15) of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation.

NCAA noted that although the incident did not result in any mishap, the aircraft was airworthy and the crew qualified to operate the flight.

However, it is viewed as a breach and resultantly a fine running into millions of naira has been clamped on the airline to serve as deterrence and to forestall any similar infraction by any other airline operator, the director general said.

In addition, the captain of the flight was fined for failing to comply with the provisions contained in the aircraft manual.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) therefore wishes to reiterate its earlier warning that all airlines should endeavour to adhere strictly to Civil Aviation Regulations, NCAA added.