The director-general of the Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NISB), Engr. Akin Olateru has claimed that Nigeria boasts the best aviation safety record in Africa, with only two fatal accidents in the past decade.
According to a statement by the bureau’s director of public affairs and consumer protection, Dr. James Odaudu, the director-general revealed that during this period, Nigeria experienced nine fatalities.
“In the last 10 years, there have been two fatal civil accidents leading to the unfortunate loss of 9 souls in Nigeria,” he stated.
Speaking at the 7th Aviation Africa Summit held in Abuja, where he discussed “Nigeria’s Evolving Approach to Aviation Safety and Learning from Occurrence Investigation – The NSIB Experience,” Olateru shared insights into the country’s aviation safety journey.
He reported that from 2005 to 2023, Nigeria encountered 78 accidents and serious incidents, with 4 incidents in the Safety Bulletin adding up to 82. During this time, his agency issued 260 safety recommendations, with 12 incidents making it into the Safety Bulletin, totalling 272 safety recommendations.
Olateru attributed the improved safety record to the diligent implementation and enforcement of these safety recommendations during his tenure.
He also addressed legislative changes and the transition of legislative responsibilities over the years. He highlighted the need to separate investigative functions from regulatory functions and ensure investigative independence for the NSIB.
Olateru elaborated on several key elements of Nigeria’s evolving approach to aviation safety:
Separation of investigative from regulatory functions: This move helps maintain objectivity in investigations by separating the entity responsible for oversight from the one conducting investigations.
Granting autonomy and investigative independence: The NSIB now enjoys independence in its investigations, ensuring impartiality and transparency.
Emphasis on early release of accident reports: By releasing reports promptly, lessons can be learned and necessary improvements made more swiftly.
Synergy between Regulator (NCAA) and Investigator (NSIB): Collaboration between these entities helps monitor and enforce safety recommendations effectively.
MOUs for collaboration with neighbouring countries: Partnering with neighbouring countries enhances investigative capabilities and information sharing.
Development of mechanisms for early reporting of occurrences: Encouraging timely reporting of incidents enables quicker responses and corrective actions.
Engaging the public and stakeholders: Promoting awareness about the importance of reporting occurrences is part of Nigeria’s evolving approach.
Training of First Responders: Preparing first responders ensures effective actions at accident sites.
Keeping an occurrence database: This database helps analyze trends and patterns for improved safety measures.
Olateru’s presentation highlighted Nigeria’s commitment to enhancing aviation safety through continuous improvement and collaboration with relevant stakeholders.