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TENSION MOUNTS OVER DEMUREN'S TENURE AS NCAA BOSS

By NBF News
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AGAIN, the intrigues and power play over the tenure of the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, which almost brought to its kneels activities in the aviation industry is again brewing.

The aviation safety regulator is enmeshed in leadership tussle that stakeholders have cautioned could fritter all the gains of the sector in the past four years.

The power play is heightened by the struggle of who succeeds Demuren when his first five-year term as director-general elapse next year, just as many thought that his first term will end this February.

But there is intrigue over the tenure of the Director-General of the agency said to have elapsed last year. The situation has, however, led to the polarisation of the agency, with some of them said to have petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over scam allegedly perpetrated by the director general.

Contrary to reports that Demuren's tenure had expired, his tenure as director-general expires in 2012.

His letter of appointment, dated February 22, 2007, with reference number SGF.6/S.8/C.3/V/201 signed by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Uffot Ekaette, which was made available to The Guardian stated in part: 'I am pleased to inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has approved your appointment as director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for a period of five years in the first instance, following confirmation by the Senate.'

In the letter, Ekaette stated that his appointment took effect from the date, 'you assume duty and following confirmation by the Senate.'

Demuren had been earlier confirmed as NCAA DG by the Senate on February 6, 2007 for 'his wealth of experience in the industry, his suitability considering his towering qualifications, his exposure, his competence exhibited in time past.'

Members of the Senate that supported his nomination and confirmation according to document on the hearing at the Senate chambers on his screening were Senator Adolphus Wabara, Senators Ogunbanjo, Isa, and Dahiru among others.

Some of the workers, who spoke to The Guardian over the issue said until the director-general reluctantly made his appointment letter public, many people had thought his tenure had expired.

They said the power struggle in the agency was heightened because they thought his appointment actually began when he was 'begged to come and stir the ship in the agency after two devastated crashes that claimed over 200 lives in 2005.'

The Assistant Secretary General of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Alhaji Muhammed Tukur urged those 'struggling or scheming to take Demuren's job to at least wait until he finishes his tenure to avoid bringing the agency back to 2005 era, where air planes were falling from the skies.'