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NSIB air disaster probe reduces occurrences

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By Abiodun Okunloye

In the past 10 years, Nigerian airspace has only seen two fatal civil crashes.

At the Aviation Africa Summit 2023 held over the weekend in Abuja, the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) said that its thorough investigations into air accidents and severe incidents, as well as the timely dissemination of safety reports, have significantly increased safety in Nigeria air. NSIB Director-General Akin Olateru made this point at the Summit in his paper presentation. The agency said that throughout the past ten years, Nigerian airspace had only seen two fatal civil plane crashes, resulting in the tragic deaths of nine people.

While speaking on the subject “Nigeria Evolving Approach to Aviation Safety and Learning from Occurrence Investigation,” he stated that the nation had the best safety record in the world and emphasised that the nation was now a formidable competitor in the industry. Furthermore, he stated that in the past four years, Nigeria has only had one accident per year in terms of classification, noting a downward trend and now severe occurrences in the civil happenings are currently taking place in Nigeria.

There has been a downward trend in air incidents in the country.

He named the Bristow Helicopters accident in 2015, along with the Quorum Helicopters accident in 2019, as the only two major civil incidents with known fatalities during that time period. According to Olateru, there are more incidents than accidents when it comes to civil air mishaps in Nigeria today, but the number of serious incidents will decrease due to the improvement of soft techniques currently deployed in the execution of probes into civil aviation instances and the on-time distribution of reports.

In addition, he disclosed that the bureau intended, in conjunction with the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development as well as the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to evaluate and assess the efficacy of all of the safety recommendations that had been made over the years. He stated that the goal of this was to oversee their implementation through the establishment of committees, and he emphasised that this will be unveiled in the year 2024.

Local and foreign insurance firms to discuss premiums for airlines.

He emphasised that this wasn’t the first time the NSIB had undertaken such a project, saying that a similar activity had been held by the agency in 2020 under his direction. In addition, he revealed that in 2024, the bureau also intends to arrange with the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and other relevant stakeholders to convene local and international Insurance firms to discuss the issue of Insurance premiums for airlines in Nigeria.

More so, the head of the NSIB went on to elaborate that the organisation had generally developed an evolving approach for the bureau, which had guaranteed safer airspace in the country and beyond through the establishment of a mechanism for early reporting of occurrences, the identification and improvement of personnel’s technical skills, the training of first responders regarding what to do at incident sites, and the maintaining of a database for assessment to identify trends and patterns.

Stakeholders and other agencies need to be involved.

Lastly, he said that it is vital to engage stakeholders in the sector and the general public on the issue of the necessity to report incidents as soon as they happen or as soon as they become aware of them through mandatory and voluntary reporting. This, he claimed, was part of the FAA’s changing strategy that made Nigerian airspace more secure. On the other hand, about 1,500 people from 75 different nations took part in the Aviation Africa Summit 2023, which was the first event of its kind to be hosted in the West African sub-region.

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