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Government alone cannot fund accident investigation, says AIB boss 


The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), yesterday, said the decision to make its funding the sole responsibility of the federal government would neither help the agency nor the progress already made. 
The Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the AIB, Akin Olateru, said in Lagos, yesterday, that the bureau was not revenue generating by convention, but could retain its prime position in the African region by multiple sources of funding.
Olateru, who was receiving the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation at the AIB headquarters, noted that the bureau had since 2017 recorded giant strides that Nigeria couldn’t but continue to build on.

He recalled that since January 2017, when he came onboard, the AIB had raised the capacity of its 40 investigators to world standard, set up the Command and Control Centre for proper coordination and timely response to emergencies and the Flight Safety Laboratory, which had lately been certified and ranked among the first 10 of such critical facilities in the world.
Besides, the agency has since 2017 to date released 26 accident investigation reports with recommendations, compared to the 16 that AIB released between 2007 and 2016.
“However, one biggest challenge we have is funding. This is not peculiar to us, but we must note that AIB is the only government agency that cannot invoice or generate income. All we used to have is the three per cent from the charges on ticket sales.

“The best way out is through other means, which we proposed to the government. Unfortunately, the result was the removal of all means of funding, including the three per cent ticket charges. It left our funding solely to the federal government. But that cannot suffice for the job that we do here.
“No one has died in an air incident in the last three years. This is due to the quality of work we have done at the AIB with our safety recommendations enhancing safety. It takes a lot to sustain this, and it is not cheap,” Olateru said.
Chairman of the Committee, Nnolim Nnaji, said the funding challenges cut across all the government agencies, but assured that they would look into the issues raised by AIB, given its importance to safer air travel.
Nnaji said the House desired massive progress in the air transport sector and would be ready to support agencies trying their best to enhance the sector.

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