By Sade Williams
Chief Executive Officers of the aviation agencies comprising Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) held a close door meeting with President, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dr. Olumuyiwa Aliu who was briefly in Nigeria.
The talk centered around how the country could leverage on the position of the Nigerian as President of the global apex aviation regulatory body to grow the sector and reposition it to meet global expectations.
Nigeria’s representative to the ICAO Council, Capt. Nuhu Musa, in a meeting with the Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau, Mr. Akin Olateru and his management team at the weekend, said, it is his responsibility to assist Nigeria overcome its challenges.
Musa disclosed that ICAO has concluded plans to train accident investigators and help them to have on the job training at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to acquaint them with the last innovation in accident investigation and to have practical experience on how to effectively and quickly handle crashes.
He further disclosed that the ICAO President had promised to discuss with the United Kingdom and Australia to re-audit the agency, adding that AIB should strive to improve on the 85 per cent it scored in the last audit.
He said he was very confident that the accident investigative would score 95 per cent and above because of the commitment of the agency to take it to the next level.
His words, “There is going to be management training for all the staff of the agencies including AIB. We need to work together. If there are training to be done, they can push them to us. We are planning to organise training for them as part of developing manpower in the aviation sector. AIB investigators are also to be trained. The NTSB based in Washington DC has offered on the job training for the investigators. There is going to be management training for all staff of the agencies.”
Capt Musa stated that the multi billion naira accident investigation laboratory in Abuja should become functional and equipped so that African countries under the Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Association (BAGAIA) can make use of it. This he said would in turn be a revenue generating source to the government through AIB.
AIB had in 2013, built a $5.5 m Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) laboratory system. Shortly after it was built, the laboratory is yet to be put into maximum use. The equipment in the laboratory system was purchased from CAE/Flight Scape in Canada.
The ICAO chief said Nigeria needs to be ready for the enormous grants that would come to the sector this year and the need to harness them maximally.
In his remark, Olateru said their meeting with ICAO President was very fruitful, adding that he specifically requested for training capacity, stressing that Aliu promised to do that for the sector after instructing Musa for a follow up on the matter.
“We spoke on how America’s NTSB can help us. It is good for ICAO representative to send their representative here to see our procedures and recommend better ways of doing things. The NTSB are way ahead of us. Secondly, we looked at the possibility of our investigators go to ICAO for recurrency training. We have our laboratory in Abuja but that laboratory is not working.”
He explained that the ICAO President wants them to do gap analysis, infrastructural gaps to be collated by the Ministry of Aviation and get them ready for intervention.
Musa lambasted the agency for not being responsive to assistance in the past, saying, “We wanted to assist but they were not responsive.”