Harold Demuren

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Dr. Harold Demuren
Dr Demuren at FSF.JPG
Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority
In office
29 December 2005 – 11 March 2013
Preceded by Engr. Fidelis Onyeyiri
Succeeded by Capt. Fola Akinkuotu
Personal details
Born (1945-05-31) 31 May 1945 (age 71)
Ogun State, Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian
Spouse(s) Osaretin Afusat Demuren
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Profession Aeronautical Engineer
Religion Christian

Dr. Harold Olusegun Demuren (born May 31, 1945 in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria) is an Aeronautical Engineer. He was Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority from December 2005 to March 2013.[1][2]


He attended Ijebu Ode Grammar School from January 1958 to December 1964 where he obtained Cambridge Higher School Certificate (HSC) and General Certificate of Education (GCE Advanced Level) in 1964. In 1965, he won a Soviet Union Government scholarship to study Aeronautical Engineering in the former USSR. He obtained Diploma in Russian Language at the Moscow State University, Moscow, USSR (1965–1966). He proceeded to Kiev Institute of Aviation Engineers, Kiev in former Soviet Union where he obtained Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering (M.Sc.) in 1972 and then to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. for his Doctor of Science D.Sc. in Aircraft Gas Turbine & Jet Propulsion Engines (1975).[1]

His research work was on the Aerodynamic Design, Manufacturing and Testing of High Temperature, High Pressure Ratio Transonic Turbine Blades for advanced gas turbines and jet aircraft engines for the United States Air Force and Navy at the M.I.T. Gas Turbine and Jet Aircraft Propulsion Laboratory (1972–1974) and also a Joint experimental investigation with the Turbo-machinery Group of Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics at Rhode-Saint-Genèse, Belgium, a NATO Research Institute (1974–1975).[3]

Professional career[edit]

Dr. Demuren (middle) leading NCAA Team conducting a routine ramp safety inspection at a Nigerian Airport.

He was recruited from the United States of America to join the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Nigeria in 1976 as Senior Airworthiness Surveyor and rose to become Assistant Director, Airworthiness in June 1989. On the creation of the defunct Federal Civil Aviation Authority in 1990, he was appointed Deputy Director Air Transport, Economic Regulations and Licensing. He rose to become the Director Safety Services in 1991. In August 1995, He was "forced" into retirement because of his strict adherent to Safety after a Government "restructuring" exercise.

After retirement, he worked as Aviation Consultant and later formed Afrijet Airlines in 1998. Afrijet Airlines became one of the biggest Cargo Airline in the country by 2005 servicing various cargo destinations on the Continent. The airline also had strategic alliances with foreign partners including MK Airlines U.K. and Panalpina World Transport (Nigeria) Limited which expanded cargo aircraft operations and freight services from Europe (Luxembourg, London, Ostend, Munich, etc.) to Nigeria (Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt) and to other major African cities including Nairobi, Kinshasa, Accra, Johannesburg, Malabo, etc. In addition to operating cargo services from Nigeria, the airline also operated passenger flights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.[4]

He was the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Afrijet Airlines until he was appointed Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in late December 2005.[1] His appointment was later confirmed by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in February 2007 in accordance with the Civil Aviation Act of 2006 that stipulates the tenure of 5 years for the Director General of NCAA.[5]

Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority[edit]

In late 2005, there was a loss of confidence in air travel and apathy in the aviation industry as two fatal air disasters in a span of 7 weeks left the nation mourning. The two incidents were Bellview Airlines flight 210 that killed all 117 people on board on October 22, and Sosoliso Airlines flight 1145 that killed 105 of 108 passengers, including 61 students from Loyola Jesuit College on December 10, 2005.

Dr. Demuren (left) receiving US FAA Category One Certification from former US Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Sanders (right) on August 23, 2010 in Nigeria

Following these tragic events, the Federal Government sought Dr. Demuren to head the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority as its Director General in late December 2005 to revamp, reposition and restore confidence in domestic air travel.[1] After his appointment, Demuren immediately took on the challenge of reforming the Nigerian Aviation sector and restoring the lost confidence to the Industry drawing up a strategic short, medium and long term plan anchored on Safety, Security and Satisfaction (consumer) in that order of priority. Dr. Demuren introduced a safety reform Agenda which enthroned professionalism, integrity and transparency in the conduct of Aviation business.[3]

Christmas Day Bomber[edit]

In December 2009, Demuren was first to provide vital information to the public on facts leading to Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab's failed attempt as the "Christmas Day Bomber". These included how Farouk bought his ticket in Accra, Ghana on KLM Airlines, proceeded on December 24 through the normal screening and check-in process, and had his US Visa scanned through the Advance Passenger Information System which returned a "no-objection". Demuren also defended the Nigerian Airport security system by promptly providing information and footage, demonstrating the advance security and technological solutions deployed in Nigeria. The global community was astonished at the degree of detail and depth of the information provided by a so-called 3rd world country in contrast to its reputation for chaos and mediocrity. Interestingly, Schiphol, Amsterdam Airport, Farouk's transit port, was unable to detect any irregularity during the security screening process.[6] Following this incident and in order to enhance safety and security, Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos became one of the first worldwide to deploy Full Body scanners and Explosive Detection Systems.[7]

US FAA Category One Certification[edit]

On August 23, 2010, under the leadership of Dr. Demuren and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigeria attained American Federal Aviation Administration International Aviation Safety Assessment (FAA IASA) Category One Certification. This allows direct flights from Nigeria to Continental United States (USA).[8] Prior to his appointment in 2005, there were no direct flights between Nigeria and USA. There are now several direct flights between Nigeria and U.S. destinations including Atlanta, New York and Washington D.C., with services to Houston to begin in November 2011.[9]

President of ICAO General Assembly[edit]

On September 28, 2010, Demuren was elected as the President of the 37th General Assembly of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from 28 September to 8 October 2010. The appointment was unanimously endorsed by all the delegates of the 190 contracting states of the ICAO.[10] His emergence made history as the first time an African was elected to preside over the ICAO General Assembly, the United Nations global aviation agency. The assembly passed landmark policies on global Aviation Safety, Aviation Security and the Environment for the Industry. It was at this notable assembly that the historic Climate Change agreement was reached.[11]

Dana Air Crash[edit]

Following 6 years of perfect record in aviation safety, on June 3, 2012, Dana Air Flight 992 crashed in the Iju-Ijesha neighborhood of Lagos resulting in loss of 153 people on board. The air accident investigation kicked off right after by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) of Nigeria with support from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the USA. The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) was sent for analysis to the United States with a team of investigators from the AIB.[12] A joint committee made up of politicians from both the Senate and House of Assembly of Nigeria was set up by the federal government to investigate the crash. While investigation was still going on, there were several controversial reports that came up from allegations blaming the age and maintenance records of the aircraft to inadequate levels and contamination of fuel used.[13] On February 11, 2013, the Wall Street Journal released a report which showed that the NTSB found the cause to be human error.[14]

End of an Era[edit]

On March 11, 2013, the federal government decided to take action on the action from the politically motivated committees which recommended that due to the age of aircraft and lack of maintenance causing the crash, the DG of NCAA should be removed. The statement released cited 'unsatisfactory response to stakeholders'.[2] Following the announcement, various stakeholders all across the aviation industry voiced their grievances as to why a national hero who have kept the airspace safe for over 7 years and helped Nigeria attain category 1 amongst other accomplishments was unfairly treated.[15]

Notable Achievements[edit]

Dr. Demuren (left) receiving the 2011 IATA African Aviation "Personality of the Year" Award from IATA President Tony Tyler in Morocco in Nov 2011.

• 2014 FSF-Boeing Aviation Safety Lifetime Achievement Award - Nov 2014[16]

• 2014 African Aviation Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding services to African Aviation Development – Jun 2014[17]

• 2011 IATA African Aviation "Personality of the Year" – Nov 2011[18]

• 2010 Flight Safety Foundation "Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award" - Nov 2010[19]

• 1st African to be elected President of ICAO General Assembly - Sept 2010[10]

• Obtained U.S. FAA Category 1 Certification for Nigeria (6th African Country) - Aug 2010[8]

• Led Nigeria to successfully complete the ICAO Universal Safety Audit - 2006, 2008 & 2010[3]

• Led Nigeria to successfully implement the Document Tracking System, Flight Standards Group Portal, Flight Tracking Software, Inspector's Training System, Licensing Examination Portal, and Aeromedical Portal among others between 2008 & 2010.

• Led Nigeria to successful completion of the Aviation Security Audit of Murtala Mohammed International Airport and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport by United States of America's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) - 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010[3]

• Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society – 2008[20]

• Fellow of Nigeria Academy of Engineering – 2008[21]

• Fellow of the Chartered Engineers (UK)[21]

• 2008 Thisday Awards "Regulator of the Year" - 2008[22]

Dr. Demuren (left) with TSA Assistant Administrator, John Halinski (right), after signing a US/Nigeria Security Pact at the TSA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia in June 2011

• Launched the IATA E-ticket / Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) regime which revolutionized the Air travel industry in Nigeria – 2008[21]

• Strived for the rapid passage of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Autonomy Bill into Law - 2006[3]

• Implementing the Cape Town Convention replacing Old-Age Aircraft in Nigeria - 2006[23]

• Re-established confidence in the Nigerian traveling public and international community after the tragic Air disasters of 2005[3]

• Introduced a new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations that ensured Safety Oversight of all aviation activities in Nigeria in compliance ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).[3]

• Laid the foundation of the National Civil Aviation Policy for Nigeria[3]

• Longest serving Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) – Dec 2005 to Mar 2013[1][2]

• 1st and only African Member in the Board of Governors of Flight Safety Foundation – 2003 to Present[3][24]

• President, Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) West Africa – 2003 to Present[3][24]

• Co-Founder of Afrijet Airlines (1998)[3]


Demuren has been married to Osaretin Afusat Demuren since 1973. They met for the first time as students in the former Soviet Union in 1969. They got engaged in Moscow, and later got married in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1973. Mrs. Demuren, also a professional record achiever herself, rose to become the 1st Female Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 1999 and retired from the Apex Bank after 33 years of service in 2009.[25] She is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Guaranty Trust Bank,[26] one of the leading financial institutions in Africa. They have several children and grandchildren.


  1. ^ a b c d e "NCAA". Commonwealth of Nations. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  2. ^ a b c "Demuren sacked as NCAA DG". Vanguard. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Harold Demuren". IATA. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  4. ^ "Afrijet Airlines - Partners". Afrijet Airlines. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  5. ^ "The fight for Demuren's seat unhealthy – Stakeholders". Daily Champion. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  6. ^ Kelvin Osa-Okunbor (27 December 2010). "How Farouk checked in from Lagos". The Nation. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  7. ^ "Nigeria to equip airports with body scanners". Google. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  8. ^ a b "U.S. Ambassador congratulates NCAA's Demuren on Nigeria's Category 1 Air Safety Rating". U.S. Embassy. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  9. ^ "Continental Airlines receives Approval to offer Lagos, Nigeria Service for Sale". Business Wire. 30 November 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  10. ^ a b Lateef Lawal (16 October 2010). "ICAO Elects NCAA DG, Harold Demuren 1st African President". Nigeria Masterweb Daily News. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  11. ^ Martha Eigbefoh (12 November 2008). "Demuren emerges ICAO first African President". ThisDay. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  12. ^ "FG Grounds Dana Air as Probe Team heads for US". ThisDay. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  13. ^ "Dana Air Crash; The Morning After and What next …?". Sahara Reporters. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  14. ^ Andy Pasztor and Drew Hinshaw (11 February 2013). "Human Error seen in Nigeria Air Crash". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  15. ^ "Stakeholders react to Demuren's removal". Punch. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  16. ^ "FSF Recognizes Harold Demuren for Lifetime of Dedication to Aviation Safety". Flight Safety Foundation. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-19. 
  17. ^ Chinedu Eze (30 Jun 2014). "Former DG, NCAA, Demuren Wins African Achievement Award". ThisDay. Retrieved 2014-07-02. 
  18. ^ "IATA crowns Demuren as African Aviation Personality of the Year". Nigerian Compass. 25 Nov 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-28. 
  19. ^ "Safety Award Presented to African Visionary". Flight Safety Foundation. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  20. ^ Wole Shadare (London) (12 Nov 2008). "UK aviation body to assist Nigeria on air safety". Nigerian Best Forum. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  21. ^ a b c Rotimi Durojaiye (7 May 2011). "Aviation – Engine of the Country's Economic Growth - Demuren". Daily Independent (Lagos). Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  22. ^ "Demuren wins Thisday Regulator of the Year 2008 Award". Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  23. ^ "Nigeria signs Cape Town Convention". Commonwealth of Nations. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  24. ^ a b "Flight Safety Foundation – Board of Governors". Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  25. ^ Funke Oloade (20 March 2010). "First Female Director – Smooth Climb to the Top". Thisday. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  26. ^ Olushola Bellow (2 April 2015). "GTBank Appoints Osaretin Demuren As Chairman". Leadership. Retrieved 2015-05-06.