NASS Passes Legislation To Enable AIB Investigate Marine, Rail Accidents
The Senate, today, passed the bill for the Act to provide for the establishment of Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), a multimodal accident investigation agency, coming about a month after the House of Representatives passed the same bill.
When assented to by the President, this will see to the transformation of Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria (AIB-N) into a multi modal safety Investigation agency adding Rail and Maritime to Aircraft Accident Investigation.
Breaking the good news to the staff of AIB-N today in Abuja, Engr. Akin Olateru, the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of AIB said: “It is with great pleasure that I send you all hearty Congratulations and announce that our New Bill before the National Assembly has been passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives. We give all the glory to Almighty God. This is a bright new beginning for AIB.”
The establishment of the NSIB will put Nigeria at the top in Africa as regards transportation accident investigation with the country becoming the first to have such agency in the continent and it is happening under the visionary guidance and leadership of the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.
According to Olateru, who thanked the Minister of Aviation Senator Sirika for his support, this is a reward of the diligence and commitment of the staff of the agency who he said had been working tirelessly for the success of the exercise.
His words: “I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Honourable Minister of Aviation and you all, my wonderful dedicated AIB team. Thank you for your patience, hard work, perseverance and dedication to this cause.
“Thank you for revising, reviewing, editing and committing tirelessly to getting the bill prepared. Our efforts have been justly rewarded with success, and I appreciate each and every one of you.”
Enlarging the operations of AIB into a multimodal agency was one of the cardinal programmes of Engr. Akin Olateru when he assumed office as the fourth Commissioner/CEO of AIB in 2017.
With the strong backing and diligent pursuit of the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, the initiative got Federal Executive Council approval and passed through the Ministry of Justice before landing at the National Assembly. The National Assembly conducted open hearings where all stakeholders made their inputs.
Olateru stated that the establishment of the NSIB is a good development and will be of great benefits to all Nigerians as it would provide adequate legal and institutional framework for the regulation and administration of safety transportation occurrences in Nigeria.
“The NSIB would reinforce safety in all modes of transportation in Nigeria through distinctive, efficient and effective investigations of accidents and serious incidents involving any of the mode of transportation within Nigeria or anywhere else Nigeria’s interest is affected,” he said.
He added: “The NSIB will determine the probable causes of accidents and serious incident occurrences in transportation and publish safety recommendations to operators, regulators and others, which would help prevent the recurring of similar occurrences, therefore, improving safety of transportation in Nigeria”.
AIB-N through its rigorous investigations, reports and safety recommendations has greatly improved the safety of air travel in the country, with the industry recording only one fatal occurrence since 2015.
Besides transforming AIB-N into a formidable and respected agency globally, this is one of the indelible marks Olateru will be leaving behind as the chief executive of the agency he took from relative obscurity to a key player in the global aviation industry.
Reacting to the news of the passage of the bill, the Commissioner of Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA), Engr. Charles Erhue said “this is a great feat to the AIB family and to the Banjul Accord Group (BAG) region. I wish to congratulate the Hon. Commissioner and entire AIB Management team with the support of every staff who has committed time and resources in one way or the other to make this a huge success.”
Meanwhile, AIB-N says it will in a few months take delivery of emergency mobile satellite office to aid it in the investigation of serious incident and accident in the country. The equipment, which would have all paraphernalia of a real office, would be deployed to any crash site in case of any accident.
Speaking during the oversight visit of the joint National Assembly Committee on Aviation at the office of the bureau at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Engr. Olateru said that the mobile office would have all the components of an office.
According to him, this would help the investigators to create a mobile office at the crash site and download the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) right at the crash site without having to delay the process.
Olateru explained that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved the contract for the award of the project, adding that procurement process had also commenced, while delivery is being awaited from the contractor.
Olateru emphasized that through the quality safety recommendations on serious incident and accident in the sector, AIB-N had helped to contribute to the safety recorded in the sector in recent years, maintaining that the aviation industry in Nigeria could be compared to any other developed one in the world.
He said: “Since 2016 till date, as a country had only one fatal accident. The sector is one of the best in the world in Nigeria. The safer airspace is due to the implementation of safety recommendations released by AIB-N.
“We have grown to the position where we help nations to set up their accident bureaus. France just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with us. This will enable us to help the francophone countries in Africa in accident investigation. AIB has the first accredited laboratory in Africa today.”
Olateru further stated that in order to curb capital flight out of the country through training of its personnel, it is constructing a training school in Abuja where its investigators and foreigners would be trained.
According to him, AIB-N expends about $1 million (about N550 million) on training of technical personnel annually, maintaining that the construction of the training school would reduce such spending. He informed that the project was about 90 per cent complete and hoped to commission the facility in the third quarter of this year.
“This is going to be the first of its kind in Africa with support from Cranfield University, United Kingdom, Singapore Transport Safety Investigation Bureau and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria. This institution will serve as a source of internal generated revenue for AIB with an enabling study environment, a four-star accommodation of 30 hotel rooms, training rooms and an auditorium of 250 capacity.