Dr. Harold Demuren Nigeria aviation regulator's boss - Monday's sack of the Director-General of the regulatory Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, by President Goodluck Jonathan has attracted criticism from key stakeholders in the aviation sector.
A government statement said Dr. Demuren's sack was 'consequent to a careful consideration of Demuren’s unsatisfactory response to the numerous concerns of stakeholders in the aviation sector'.
However, the Assistant Secretary-General of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Alhaji Mohammed Tukur, said Dr. Demuren was removed for his uncompromising stance on safety and other issues affecting the sector.
For his part, President, Aviation Round Table (ART), Captain Dele Ore, was quoted by the private Guardian newspaper to have said Wednesday: “What Nigeria has done is very immoral, what we would have done is to appreciate him. It shows that Nigeria actually kills his own heroes.
'We murder our own heroes; rather than appreciate them, we kill them. It is very sad, because I believe that Demuren has done a very good job. He should have been encouraged, he does not deserve to be disgraced the way they have done.'
A former President of ART, retired Group Capt. John Obakpolor, described as unfortunate the manner of Dr. Demuren's removal, saying his contribution to the sector was phenomenal.
But the Senate Committee on Aviation supported the removal, on the basis of the NCAA's alleged poor safety oversight which it believed led to last June's crash of an aircraft operated by the local Dana Air, in which at least 159 people died.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives had called for Dr. Demuren's sack in the wake of the crash.
PANA reports that aviation experts believe that Dr. Demuren, who was appointed to the NCAA top job in the wake of the series of deadly crashes in Nigeria in 2005 and 2006, has turned around the fortunes of the regulatory body to such a level that not a single deadly plane
crash was recorded in the country for almost six straight years until last year's crash.