By Sade Williams
Engr. Akin Olateru, Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), has charged members of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) to be more professional in the discharge of their duties.
Olateru also said that accident reports of the bureau have received commendations in recent time due to professionalism on the part of management.
A statement by Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, Head, Public Affairs, AIB, said that Olateru stated this recently when the leadership of NAAPE, led by its President, Engr. Abednego Galadima paid him a courtesy visit in his office at the Murtala Muhamed Airport (MMA), Lagos.
Commenting on the release of accident reports by the bureau, Olateru observed that none of its reports had been faulted by any individual or organisation in recent time due to professionalism.
He said the bureau has since, removed accident reports from the apron string of individuals to collective contributory.
He explained that because of the quality of works done by investigators, no engine or aircraft manufacturer had faulted the reports of the agency on aircraft incident or accident.
According to him: “The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika recently told me that we should not rush our reports so that it can’t be faulted by anyone. So, I took the time to take him through the process to show him that our reports can’t be faulted. Our reports are not done individually again.
“Now, we have groups comprising of experienced and inexperienced investigators. No one personalises reports again. And after the groups have finished their work with the draft reports, we send them to stakeholders for their comments and observations. On getting feedbacks, we now do a general review, which involves virtually all the investigators, before it goes out for proof reading”, he added.
Olateru, who noted that aviation industry anywhere in the world is technical and volatile, stressed that whatever development that takes place in other sector affects aviation industry.
According to Olateru, if members of NAAPE aircraft engineers and pilots in various organisations displayed professionalism in the discharge of their duties, the Nigerian aviation industry would experience more growth while the sector would continue to remain safe for flight operations.
He also lauded NAAPE for showing pragmatic professionalism in dealing with managements of various organisations in the industry, saying that their attitude had brought stability to the sector and enjoined them to continue with this approach.
He said: “There is no organisation without workers and if there is no organisation, there will be no workers. Your association has demonstrated enough professionalism.
“Without NAAPE, there is no aviation. NAAPE is one of the most important unions in the industry. I am not however saying that other unions are not important. But, everything surrounds aircraft. If there is no aircraft, there is no aviation. NAAPE comes first in the industry. So, I will want you to also enjoin your member to be more professional in the discharge of their duties.”
Meanwhile, Olateru disclosed that Sirika was working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that interest rates on loans obtained by investors in the sector was not more than 9 per cent, stressing that this would go a long way in improving standards in the sector.
He emphasised that it requires expertise for an investor to run an airline business successfully and enjoined investors in the sub-sector to allow proven professionals to run their business.
In his remarks, Galadima commended Olateru for bringing stability to AIB within a short period of time.
He promised that the association would work with the management especially in the area of accident prevention and would also sensitise his members on non-hazard and violation according to Annex 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“We want to see that the industry grows. We are here to see that aviation in Nigeria grows and gets a win-win for employees and employers in the industry. We recognise that AIB has paucity of funds, but despite this, the bureau has been paying the license fee to NAAPE members in the agency.
“I will also use this opportunity to call for the release of promotion letters to our members in your organisation as the year is running out. Also, I seek proper placement as it affects our members. We will support you, but as friends, we will also tell you the truth.”
Also speaking, Comrade Ocheme Abba, the General Secretary of NAAPE, said the meeting was necessary in order to forge a relationship between the bureau and the union.
He reiterated that one of NAAPE’s mandates was to ensure growth in the industry, which he said the association had carried out successfully over the years.