Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigeria says it plans to conduct a training for all accident investigators in the West African region to showcase its world class Flight Safety Laboratory located in Abuja.
The AIB Commissioner, Engr. Akin Olateru who disclosed this during a Regional Enlightenment Symposium held yesterday at Nike Lake Resort, Enugu said the training would be held before the end of 2020.
Olateru, who was represented by the General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi described the symposium as “another viable platform for all stakeholders to meet and deliberate on how to further grow our air transport system and promote our safety culture to meet global best practices.”
“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 travelers. Until recently, the Nigerian aviation industry had no fatality for about five years. I would like to assure air travelers that the aviation industry is not daunted in its commitment to achieve 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,” said Olateru.
“Our duty, as accident investigators of civil aviation, is one thing, but understanding one’s needs is very critical to the success of any institution.
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.
Collaboration is about creating a working relationship. For anybody to want to collaborate with you, first of all, you need to be in a position to add value. What we have done at AIB, is that we have raised the profile of the Bureau and built that trust within the industry that we are unbiased. That we are professionals, focused and that we are clear on our mandate.
This has prompted some institutions wanting to partner with AIB. France, on their 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. This is ongoing.
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 easily since the Air Force has helicopters that can transport our investigators.
We are currently seeking collaboration with security and emergency agencies across the country in terms of security of evidences at crash sites.
We have a strong collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps and we have trained their personnel and security personnel from the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps on air disaster management. This is aimed at ensuring that evidences at crash sites are not tampered with.
Tertiary institutions in Nigeria are not left out in our collaborative efforts as AIB has MoUs with the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), and University of Lagos (UNILAG) on the use of its material science laboratory.
Also, as part of its cooperation agreement with UNILAG, the Bureau’s investigators were recently trained on the use of drones as part of accident investigation technique at the UNILAG Consult Building.
AIB success story has really impressed not only agencies in the country but other nations. For example, South Africa asked their consultant to come and examine how we are doing it: what is it we are doing that is different, in order to see what they can replicate into their own operations.
The current administration of the Bureau has also engaged in international collaborations and cooperation agreements with several countries and institutions such as Republic of Benin, US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Singapore Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB), Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA- France) and UK AAIB.
So, as you can see, the Bureau is doing a lot in terms of cooperation and collaboration with the aim of improving safety in the industry and ensuring that accident investigations are effectively and efficiently carried out successfully.
We are continuously looking for ways to improve our system at AIB because safety is a collective responsibility even as learning and gaining knowledge is a continuous process. And we will like to share knowledge and also learn as we expand our scope if possible.
Expanding our scope and ensuring that we have investigators across the Geo-political zones in Nigeria in order 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.
That is why we have established regional offices across the country. In case of any occurrences within this region (Southern-Eastern), our competent investigators will be swiftly dispatched to the site of occurrence after being duly notified.
We therefore seek the cooperation and support of all industry stakeholders. As I said earlier, 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 in order to ensure thorough investigations are conducted and the reports timely published.
This is one of the reasons the AIB/NCAA Joint Committee was created with the aim of ensuring seamless interaction between the agencies as they continuously promote safety of the Nigerian air space.
I want to implore all the stakeholders to allow seamless interactions to take place among their agencies, institutions or companies and the AIB in order for us to continue promoting safety of the Nigerian Airspace,” stated Olateru.