May 24, 2024

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NCAA Cautioned Not to Meddle in Oversight Outside Aviation, AIB Urged to Be More Firm

6 min read

LEFT: Capt. Akin George, Managing Director, ANAPJET, Capt. Dayyabu Danraka, Director of Operations, AIB, Capt. Musa Nuhu, DG, NCAA, Comrade Segun Koiki, Chairman, LAAC, and Group Capt. Usman Sadiq Abubakar, USA, (rtd), Director, Aviation Security, FAAN

An appeal has gone to stakeholders in the Nigerian air transport industry not to unwittingly prod the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, with oversight that does not fall within its mandate such as regulating aviation fuel production and supply, which is against the conventional norm for the Civil Aviation Authority, CAA, globally.

Dr Harold Olusegun Demuren gave the word of caution at Nigeria’s first international safety seminar in 2021, jointly organized by the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB and the League of Airports And Aviation Correspondent, LAAC, held at Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja.

The former Director-General of NCAA cautioned stakeholders who clamoured for NCAA to devise means to ascertain quality of fuel supply to aircraft by the fuel marketers as a way to prevent an accident that contaminated fuel supply could cause.

The discussants at the seminar which had as its theme, “Prevention of Human Factors in Air Accident Occurrences”, touched on the possibility of air accident from sub-standard JETA1 supply, with its very high potential to instigate malfunction of the engine and the consequence of a crash.

Dr Demuren, an elder statesman, acknowledged that a situation of substandard fuel supply could genuinely arise, but close rapport with the official body saddled with the regulation of fuel production and distribution in the country, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, could yield good result in prompting the agency to gear up its oversight on JETA1 supply in the country.

The Russian trained aeronautical engineer advised for caution so that NCAA will not unwittingly be found attempting to regulate oil and gas industry where it has no competence and official mandate.

He illustrated that those working on the oil rig, extensively make use of aviation services yet, the airworthiness of their aircraft and helicopter is determined by NCAA not DPR. Ditto for the air transport industry that consumed JET A1 does not have the mandate to regulate oil and gas activities. Hence, he advised that caution needed to be exercised not to prod NCAA to intermodal transport regulation against the recommended global standard and practice.

Demuren added that what is needed is the firmness of AIB as an independent organ to maintain its neutrality and independence and jealously guide it in case of encroachment even from the supervisory ministry.

Dr Olusegun Harold Demuren, former DG, NCAA

Harold Olusegun Demure who is also a fellow of the Flight Safety Foundation reminded AIB that all the recommendations it churned out are advisory and not mandatory. He argued that if those recommendations are mandatory, then AIB had assumed regulatory authority which would make the aviation space chaotic

He, however, advised that AIB should continue to exhibit boldness and where any anomaly is deciphered, the bureau should be bold and firm to speak out and maintain its stand firmly on the mandate from the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, annexe 13, which empowers the investigation body to operate unfettered.

Mr Richard Aisuebeogun, the former Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, said to enhance the zero accident campaign ongoing in the country, training and retraining of personnel should be in the front burner for all agencies and operators in the industry.

He said if AIB is to succeed in its onerous task, training of its investigators and their support staff is imperative. He reminded participants of parlance that “if you think training is expensive, try an accident” which he quickly added no one ever wish for an accident.

Mr Aisuebeogun implored all organizations prospecting in the aviation subsector of the national economy to develop an annual training plan for its personnel.

He advised that to ensure the training plan counts, NCAA should mandate each of all the organizations it regulates to submit their annual training plans with it.

He suggested that the training plan shall become part of the items for auditing by NCAA inspectors whenever audit of any organizations is conducted.

Aisuebeogun added that such training plan will also be among items for AIB to check, to determine if the concerned organization adhere to its annual training plan as submitted with the civil aviation authority.

Mr Richard Aisuebeogun, former Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN

He, however, commended the synergy by the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, and the League of Aviation and Airports Correspondents, LAAC, which culminated in the first international safety conference in 2021 for the country.

Also, Engr. Charles Irikefe Erhueh, Commissioner at Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency, BAGAIA, Said the ECOWAS region is looking up to Nigeria’s safety standards as the benchmark and as such, Nigeria, through NCAA and AIB, must continue to get it right.

He also commended the synergy of AIB and LAAC, for putting up such event that raised salient issues that stimulated the audience and gave everyone present critical issues to go away with and ponder over.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu at the weekend tasked Aviation stakeholders to perform the role as expected of them dutifully and conscientiously to avoid accidents or serious incidents in the sector.

He noted that the industry had only recorded one serious incident with fatalities in the last five years with the Quorum Helicopter crash of 2020 which killed three crew members on board.

According to him, the feat was made possible through the synergy of all stakeholders.

The Commissioner, AIB, Engr. Akin Olateru, who was ably represented by the Director of Operations, Capt. Dayyabu Mustapha Danraka said, there is a range of causes to air accidents.

He said the occurrence of air accidents caused by technological advancement is reducing but noted that the development had added to the complexity of systems and raising the level of seriousness, all that to be managed by the humans.”

According to him, it is of paramount importance to do everything that would contribute to a substantial reduction of the human factor failure in air transportation.

Engr. Charles Irikefe Erhueh, Commissioner, BAGAIA

He stated that Human factors knowledge can be used to reduce the likelihood of errors and build more error-tolerant and more resilient systems.

These, he noted are important for safe and efficient aviation.

Chairman of LAAC, Comrade Olusegun Koiki stressed the need for continued focus on human factors in air accident investigation since it plays a crucial role in safety in the global aviation sector as it would reduce the rate of accidents.

“One small error caused by poor procedures or poor communication can result in catastrophe, including loss of life,” he said.

He commended the AIB which he said had performed credibly well in improving air safety.

He said, “Let me use this opportunity to reiterate that if indeed, the Federal Government desires safer transportation for the country, it is pertinent to amend the existing Act setting up AIB to include the investigation into other modes of transport – Intermodal investigation is the way to go.

“AIB as an organisation that has performed creditably well in ensuring safer skies for air transport in Nigeria. AIB’s statutory duty should be extended to other modes of transport like road, rail and marine. A situation where the inspector also acts as an investigator/regulator will impact negatively on the credibility of an investigation report.

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