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It's no accident that the AIB is getting better all the time

Posted 26 June 2018 · Add Comment

Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), the only autonomous accident investigation agency in west Africa has, since December 2016, worked on the execution of its short and medium-term plans, one of which is emergence as the region’s accident investigation hub. Chukwu Emeke reports.

AIB chief executive officer, Engineer Akin Olateru, ranks his organisation as 10th best accident investigation agency worldwide in terms of equipment, manpower and infrastructure.
“What we need to work on and improve right now is systems processing and procedures, regulation, and our operations manual,” he said. “This is one of the reasons for my recent meeting with the UKAIB to see how they can help us, work with us and improve our processes.
“Without the processes, systems, standard operating procedure (SOP), operations manuals etc, you can’t really make the best of whatever you have. That is where we are right now. With a few improvements, we will be on a par with the world on accident investigation.”
Olateru noted that many other countries in Africa do not have autonomous accident investigation agencies because of constraints of finance and manpower. However, the National Transportation & Safety Board (NTSB) of both Singapore and the US have been supportive to Nigeria’s AIB, training the investigators on how to use the equipment in the recently revived flight safety laboratory.
“We have eight of our investigators training in Singapore right now. Another group is in America with the US NTSB,” said Olateru. “Along the line, we will be partnering with Cranfield University in the UK.
“Within the next year there will be extensive training on accident investigation and manpower development for the entire AIB. In the long-term, we are working with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) to develop the right training curriculum for AIB Nigeria and for the sub-region and Africa as a whole.”
By the first quarter of 2018, the UKAIB will be working with AIB to review its procedures and equipment.
Nigeria, as the leader of the Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA), which has seven countries as members, has received proposals from neighbours Sao Tome & Principe, Cape Verde and the Benin Republic, to sign of memorandum of understanding to enable AIB assist them in developing their technical expertise and provide them with needed support in case of serious accidents and incidents.
Nigeria’s AIB was established as an autonomous accident investigation agency in 2007 in compliance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act of 2006 and ICAO Annex 13 provisions. Accident investigation plays a vital role in maintaining a robust air safety regime, which cannot be achieved if investigation results are not released in a timely manner.
Olateru says he inherited 27 outstanding accident reports when he assumed office as CEO in December 2016. He released 10 reports within his first year in office, which contained 35 safety recommendations, including the issuance of an all operators’ letter (AOL) by NCAA whenever there is an engine change.
Another batch of six accident reports were scheduled to be released in March 2018, while the agency intends to clear the backlog by the end of this year.
Observers believe the bureau’s various measures have contributed to the reduction in aviation accident and incident rates in Nigeria.
The agency has established a safety recommendations implementation unit to identify how many recommendations have been taken forward and to push for implementation of those that are outstanding.
Meanwhile, AIB has launched the AIB mobile application, which can be downloaded free and enables recording of accidents and serious incidents by any member of the public. It enables live reporting by eye witnesses in the event of accidents or incidents, and pictures can be uploaded on the application to assist in investigations.
It also serves as a faster alternative to web browsing, provides immediate information access and consumes less data than websites.
Olateru said the application “gives us a new and more convenient way to receive aircraft accident report in real time.”
 

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