April 16, 2024

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AIR SAFETY: Nigeria committed to zero accident – Akin Olateru

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First right: Mr. Tunji Oketunmibi, General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, at Nike Lake Resort Hotel, Enugu, Nigeria.

The joint committee of Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has been doing a yeoman’s job at ensuring seamless interaction between numerous other agencies as it continuously promotes safety of the Nigerian air space as evident in the over half a decade zero accident record until lately.

Engr. Akin Olateru, Commissioner and Chief Executive, AIB, made this known at the regional enlightenment symposium, held at Nike Lake Resort Hotel, Enugu, Enugu state.

The forum was a symposium to enable stakeholders to be better acquainted with the terms of reference of the bureau and its modus operandi to delivering on its mandate.

The Bureau’s Commissioner/CEO who was ably represented by the General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Tunji Oketumbi, at the symposium said the Bureau, “under the current administration is focused on engendering relationships, which would facilitate excellence and enduring world-class standards in the investigation and prevention of air accidents in Nigeria”

He said the bureau’s task, “is to improve aviation safety by determining the circumstances and causes of air accidents as well as proffering recommended solutions and engaging in activities that promote aviation safety in Nigeria”.

The Commissioner explained that “Safety is the backbone of aviation and without it, aviation loses its meaning. This is why every organ or unit in the industry works tirelessly to ensure the safety of air travellers. Until recently, the Nigerian aviation industry had no fatality for about five years”.

He further said, “I would like to assure air travellers that the aviation industry is not daunted in its commitment to achieving zero accident in the industry. The AIB, on its part, will not relent in its vigorous pursuit of adding values that will up the ante of safety in Nigeria and Africa”.

Explaining the modus operandi of the bureau towards achieving its set objectives, Olateru said, AIB “gathers and analyzes air safety data for accident and incident prevention purposes, and monitor implementations of safety recommendations by carrying out accident prevention monitoring programs.

He said that having raised the bar through the bureau’s impeccable accident reports and foolproof recommendations, both local and international institutions had on their volition requested for partnership.

The AIB helmsman revealed that “France, on its own, wrote to us asking for collaboration and we have signed an MoU with them. Saudi Arabia also wrote to us and if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, we would have gone to Saudi Arabia to sign an MoU with them. BAGAIA (Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency), a regional body, has also reached out because they really want to use AIB Nigeria to support the entire West Africa. These are ongoing”, he said.

On the relationship with the armed forces, Akin Olateru added, “We also recently signed an MoU with the Nigerian Air Force on collaboration on mutual benefits. This collaboration will save the Air Force some money in terms of fund it allocates to downloading its Flight Data Recorders, commonly known as Black boxes abroad following an air crash. For AIB, the collaboration will benefit us in terms of accessing remote crash sites faster and easier since the Air Force has helicopters that can transport our investigators”.

He added that AIB had “established regional offices across the country for the quick response of competent investigators in case of unforeseen occurrences within this region (Southern-Eastern), to enable competent investigators swiftly arrive the site of occurrence after being duly notified”.

Engr. Olateru explained that the objective of the bureau’s management informed, “expanding our scope and ensuring that we have investigators across the Geo-political zones in Nigeria to have a go-team that will be dispatched timely to crash sites in any zone, is very important to aircraft accident investigation and air safety in Nigeria”

He, however, reiterated that AIB “therefore seeks the cooperation and support of all industry stakeholders… safety is a collective responsibility and accident investigation process cannot be done alone; the airlines, regulatory bodies, aircraft manufacturers, Air Traffic Controllers, first responders i.e., Police, Federal Safety Corps (FRSC), Civil Defense, everyone who is a stakeholder in the industry needs to work hand in hand with the Bureau to ensure thorough investigations are conducted and the reports timely published”, Akin Olateru affirmed.

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