HOUSE of Representatives Committee on Aviation has pledged to support the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria push for its plans to involve first responders’ to aircraft accidents including the Nigeria Police, Air Force, Navy, National Emergency Management Agency *(NEMA) and others to form a synergy with the investigators so when an accident happens evidence will not be compromised.
Speaking through the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, they also commended the strides the AIB and its commissioner, Engineer Akin Olateru have taken despite the funding deficit that the agency experience.
Nnaji made this commendation during the committee’s oversight function on the Bureau, where the group visited AIB’s Control and Command Centre where the investigators monitor flights real-time to enable them track aircraft in case something happens and got a feel of what the Bureau actually does.
Nnaji who listened to some challenges the investigators go through in dispatch of their duties saw reason with the Commissioner who had given logical instances where an MoU signed would make collaboration with relevant agencies much more seamless.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner had explained that AIB had tried to get numerous agencies to sign Memorandums of Understanding(MoU) that would make the Bureau’s job less cumbersome and also provide services for organizations such as the Nigeria Air Force.
He also said that the training of first responders to enable them secure crash sites and identify evidence was just as important as collaboration at incident sites.
“We have tried to get some of these agency to sign MoUs, the reason is sometimes accidents can happen in the deep sea and the Nigeria Navy has experienced divers to go there and retrieve wreckage and other important stuff.”
“Even the training we hold for the Nigeria Civil Defense Corp, Nigeria Police, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) are things we need backing to institutionalize in their ab initio training so they can know how to cordon off accident sites and secure vital evidence like the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder most of them don’t even know what it looks like, because it’s called a black box they go out looking for the block box, which is actually yellow.
“Even sad that during some accidents some operators have catered away with the FDR/CVR so you don’t know what happens to their aircraft. In truth training needs to be embedded in these first responders’ curriculum and AIB cannot be doing one-off trainings.
The AIB commissioner also sought the aid of the lawmakers to relocate the N600 million metallurgical science laboratory located in Abuja which is no longer in use eight years after it was built to cater for critical analysis of aeroplanes during crashes.
Olateru told the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation that the facility had not been put to use because of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line that passed through the laboratory, describing it as AIB’s weakest link.
He explained the uses of the metallurgical lab, stating that the agency examines metals to determine the structure of a damaged part or parts of aircraft to determine cause or causes.
He disclosed that the agency recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and the University of Ilorin on the use of its metallurgical laboratory at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
He said the laboratory will benefit Nigeria, students of higher institutions of learning and industries in the country.
On funds, Nnaji admitted that funding was a general challenge not just in aviation but all the sectors but said the House will try and look for ways it can assist especially as the Bureau does not invoice anyone or any organization for the services it renders which helps to maintain safety in the skies through enacting safety recommendations.