The director-general of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Engr. Akin Olateru has been recognised with the ‘Integrity and Anti-corruption Ambassador’ award of the Nigerian Youth Against Corruption and Transparency Initiative.
This recognition is a testament to the remarkable transformation and progress achieved by the NSIB under his leadership.
The award was presented at the bureau’s headquarters in Abuja, where the group coordinator of the organisation, Engr. Abdul Usman commended Olateru for his outstanding contributions to the nation’s aviation safety. He highlighted the NSIB’s rapid transformation into one of the world’s leading accident investigation bodies under Olateru’s guidance.
“Our organisation takes immense pride in the transformation and progress witnessed within the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB),” stated Usman. “Your unwavering commitment to a corruption-free society and your contributions to nation-building have not gone unnoticed. We believe that your dedication and achievements deserve recognition, and hence, we have chosen to honour you with this award”.
In response, Olateru expressed his gratitude to the organization for acknowledging his modest contributions to aviation safety. He emphasised the importance of the NSIB’s work, which involves investigating aviation occurrences and promptly releasing reports with safety recommendations. These recommendations are directed towards industry stakeholders, including the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), affected airlines and aircraft manufacturers, to prevent the recurrence of incidents.
Olateru provided insights into the NSIB’s history, explaining that it was established in 2006 and had made significant strides under his leadership since 2017. During this time, the bureau has diligently fulfilled its mandate to investigate air accidents and incidents while ensuring the timely release of reports, ultimately contributing to safer airspace in Nigeria and beyond.
He also highlighted the government’s recognition of the NSIB’s role, leading to the enactment of the NSIB Act 2022. This legislation expanded the agency’s mandate and scope, transforming it into a multi-modal agency responsible for investigating incidents in aviation but also in maritime, railway and other modes of transportation across the country. This development aligns Nigeria with countries like the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, where a single agency conducts all transportation investigations.
Olateru clarified that this separation of regulatory and investigative responsibilities promotes transparency and objectivity in the investigation of transportation occurrences. He cited the period between 2003 and 2005 when Nigeria had combined these functions, resulting in numerous air crashes.
The director-general emphasised the substantial improvements in air safety and the growth of the air transport industry in Nigeria since the regulatory and investigative roles were separated. He noted that past safety concerns, which prompted people to choose road travel over air travel, have largely been addressed. Today, air travel is a preferred mode of transportation in Nigeria, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Bureau, regulatory bodies and other industry stakeholders.
Olateru assured that the NSIB would continue to respond promptly to transportation occurrences and release reports with safety recommendations. This ongoing commitment is vital for preventing the recurrence of incidents and safeguarding the entire transportation system.
He concluded by expressing his delight at receiving the award and thanked the organization for recognising the NSIB’s valuable contributions to enhancing safety in Nigeria’s airspace.