Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, had lauded the Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) for its timely release of the report on the cause of the crash of Caverton AugustaWestland AW139 Helicopter in Kabba, Kogi State, conveying Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and his entourage to a campaign event.
Sirika in an interview with journalists in Lagos at thye weekend, said the AIB had received tremendous assistance from the Federal Government in the last three years to grow its technical and human capabilities, a trend he said had helped the agency to discharge its duties timely and accurately as seen in other parts of the world’s best accident investigation establishment.
“Gone are the days when we would wait endlessly to know what happened in aircraft accidents and incidents; the AIB is adequately funded to investigate any major incident or accident in Nigeria and even beyond the shores of Nigeria like in Sao Tome and Principle,” said Sirika.
“You would recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and 11 others were involved in a helicopter crash managed by Caverton Helicopters in Kabba, Kogi State and few hours after the accident, AIB vowed that it would publish the preliminary report in few days. “And true to its word, in less than two weeks, it came out with the preliminary report on the accident and this singular action received applause from all stakeholders including Aviation Round Table (ART).
“The AIB has published 10 final reports on serious incidents out of 28 released since its establishment in 2007. This indicates 36 per cent of total reports released by the bureau since it was set up in 2006. It has even issued 39 safety recommendations out of a total of 121 issued by the agency. Again, this represents 32 per cent of total safety recommendations ever released by the agency. This administration has also rehabilitated the Emergency Operating Centre and furnished the Resuscitation Centres at Abuja and Lagos Airports, respectively,” Sirika added.
He also listed as gains for the Buhari administration the construction and commissioning of new terminals, acquisition of navigational aids and the recent payment of gratuities and pensions of the former employees of Nigeria Airways.
Sirika also said the certification of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) for conformity with the requirements of ISO 9001 2015 in the provision of meteorological services to the aviation industry and other user- sectors is a major achievement of this administration in the sub-sector.
The Minister said, “NiMET today is the only meteorological agency in the entire Africa to achieve the 2015 version of this programme. The agency is also collaborating with national and international organisations to improve weather and climate services delivery in Nigeria. With its present status, farmers and other sectors now rely on the forecasts of NiMET for planning of their activities.
“The Nigerian NiMet provides daily weather forecast to Liberia and Sierra Leone and currently training meteorological personnel from the Republic of Gambia in Banjul,” he added.