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Stakeholders hinge execution of safety recommendation on cooperation

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[FILE PHOTO] Murtala Muhammed International Airport

Until the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) fully cooperate, there may not be effective implementation of safety recommendation in the industry.

The Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), a local think-tank arm of the sector, said both agencies had a common goal of promoting aviation safety and preventing air accidents from occurring, and, therefore, should work together to achieve this goal.

The AIB’s Safety Recommendation Committee report 2018 found that a total of 51 out of a total of 130 safety recommendations issued in the past were either partially implemented or not implemented.

A similar safety fact-finding mission was carried out in 2014 – covering from 2000 to 2014. A total of 158 safety recommendations were discovered with less than 30 implemented.

The ASRTI observed that the NCAA, service providers and operators might not implement certain recommendations, if after using risk-based approach involving safety and possibly cost, they find the recommendation unimplementable.

However, they must notify the AIB in writing with reasons. For the service providers and operators, they must in turn notify the NCAA stating the reasons clearly.

President of the ASRTI, Gbenga Olowo, encouraged constant and effective communication between the NCAA and AIB to achieve the desired collaboration in the industry’s interest.

“The AIB has no powers to enforce any safety recommendation but has a duty to make such recommendations in their reports to promote safety in the industry.

“There is a need for emphasis on and implementation of safety recommendations and outcomes of accident investigations, rather than forget everything about the investigations after so much publicity about the accident itself.

“We need to change our perception of AIB and accident investigation, stakeholders must realise that the goal of accident investigation is to prevent reoccurrence and not to punish anyone or look for culprits,” Olowo said.

Former Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Dr. Harold Demuren explained that it was not compulsory that all the recommendations of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) must be implemented by the aviation regulatory body.

Demuren said the implementation policies were not entirely successfully carried out, due to the fact that most of the policies had some unattainable implementation process.

He reiterated that the role of AIB was to determine probable cause of accidents, adding that AIB like the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have no legal authority to impose recommendations.

“It is not every case they accept to work together. The regulators must evaluate it and it is a risk based approach”.

“When you look at the risk or cost, they may not implement it. They may defer it. NTSB has made over a thousand recommendations but some gaps are yet to be closed while 82 per cent have been closed,” he added.

Pioneer Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Dr. Sam Oduselu disclosed that accident investigation can no longer be compromised any more as longer the investigative body is autonomous.

“The stereotype is that investigators are compromised, but I believe investigators can’t be compromised anymore in this country. If you give autonomy, the autonomy must be allowed to work. We usually sit down together with NCAA to have recommendations.

“The unfortunate thing is that reports are written, but they are never in the public domain. The safety recommendations of AIB were written and ended up in the ministry. That is why it is necessary for AIB as autonomous body to go beyond the ministry.”


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