The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) is seeking partnership with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on how to further ensure safety in all modes of transportation across the country.
The two bodies have also agreed to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on how their partnership could be concretised and ensure mutual benefits for all.
According to a statement released by the General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, the Bureau paid a courtesy visit to the NSCDC Railway Command Headquarters in Lagos yesterday with the aim of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship between the two agencies.
Engr. Akin Olateru, the Director-General, NSIB, who led the courtesy visit to the NSCDC Railway Command Headquarters at Ebute Metta, Lagos said that it was necessary for the two federal government agencies to synergise for the safety and security of the over 200 million Nigerians who either patronise air, road, rail or water transport, especially in the area of accident investigation.
Olateru who described the NSCDC as an important stakeholder to the bureau, said that as the first responder, the corps could help to secure crash sites and provide security for its investigators at crash sites.
He explained that the new NSIB Act 2022, empowered the bureau to conduct investigation into other modes of transport accidents, including rail and maritime, noting that with this, the causal cause of any accident would be known, while recurrence of similar accident could also be prevented.
He maintained that no institution or organisation could go it alone without the collaboration of the others and appealed to the corps to work in harmony with the bureau.
He explained that through the investigation of serious incidents and accidents in the air transportation industry in Nigeria by NSIB and the issuance of safety recommendations, the spate of accidents in the sector had reduced, while the air transport in Nigeria was also rated among the safest in the world.
He vowed to replicate such in the other modes of transportation in Nigeria.
He said: “Nigeria has one of the safest air transportation anywhere in the world. This is so because we enhance safety by investigation. There is no hearsay when we do our own investigation. So, we do thorough investigations and come up with safety recommendations.
“Our proposal to investigate all modes of transportation was approved in 2018 and the draft bill was sent to the Ministry of Justice for vetting. After that, it was sent to the National Assembly and we went through the first and second reading, public hearing and then, the third reading. Then, Mr. President signed it finally.
“In today’s world, when you look at the US, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, even Cape Verde and others, you must have an independent agency of government for investigating accidents so that there won’t be conflict of interest. There will be clarity. Up until this bill was passed, accident investigation in the rail sector was under the management of the railway. They are the regulator, operator and the investigator. Same thing applies in the maritime with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as the regulator and investigator.
“So, you need to separate the regulator from the service provider and the investigator. There must be three legs to every mode of transportation. This will lead to clarity.”
Besides, Olateru explained that the NSIB had co-opted the railway team to join its investigators on the investigation of the rail and bus accident, which occurred in Lagos on March 9, 2023.
He explained that this would enable the investigators to unravel the causal cause of the accident and issue recommendations on prevention of recurrence.
In his response, Commandant Oludare Ogunyoye, Commandant, NSCDC, Railway Command Headquarters, Lagos, expressed delight at the visit of the NSIB team.
Ogunyoye reiterated the readiness of the corps to collaborate with NSIB and also offer assistance whenever necessary.
“We of the NSCDC railway command, we are ready to partner with you in any form, provided it’s based basically on the way forward. That is, it is for the improvement of Nigeria as a whole. So, any form of assistance needed from us, we will give it to you. Immediately you call us, we will swing into action,” he said.