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Nigeria assists Sierra Leone with accident investigation agency

The Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria (AIB-N) has commenced the provision of technical support for the setting up of the Sierra Leone Aircraft Accident Incident Investigation Bureau (SL-AAIIB).

 

This was marked by the conclusion of a recent two-day fact-finding mission to the Sierra Leone Aircraft Accident Incident Investigation Bureau (SL-AAIIB) by AIB-N. This is the second time AIBN will be assisting a member country in the sub-region to establish their independent investigation agencies. It offered similar support to Gambia in establishing its accident investigation agency.

 

The agency, which is now rated as a regional leader in aircraft accident investigation, has also assisted Sao Tome and Principe to conduct investigation into an aircraft crash. The team, led by Mr Adeniji Oni, examined the establishment of SL-AAIIB, development of legislation, regulations, manuals and guidance materials. The AIB-N team also reviewed the development of training policies and programmes for investigators (initial, simulators and specialised) and how the SL-AAIIB should prepare for ICAO Audits and the implementation of corrective action plan, following any gap identified. The initiative to assist the government of Sierra Leone in the set up and commencement of SL-AAIB was at the instance of the Commissioner AIB-N, Akin Olateru, an aircraft engineer and Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika. Speaking on behalf of the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority (SLCAA) Director- General, the Director of Corporate Services, Alex Pratt, said: “Let me, on behalf of the director-general, thank you very much for the work done in this brief period.

 

The SLCAA welcomes the recommendations made so far and promise they would be carefully followed and implemented.” The SL-AAIIB Commissioner, Mr. Olubunmi Wellington, thanked the Nigeria delegation for the technical support rendered in the establishment of the SL-AAIIB.

 

“We promise to make good use of this opportunity and we will call on you at any time to play the big-brother role you have already started,” he said. Since 2017, under the administration of Olateru, collaboration with countries has been paramount as aviation is considered one and does not discriminate on the basis of culture or ethnicity.

 

The collaboration is in the wake of ensuring exchange of knowledge and use of facilities for ensuring a safe sky. So far, the Agency has partnered with Republic of Benin, Sao Tome (who it has assisted in accident investigation), Saudi Arabia, NTSB US, Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA- France) France AIB, AAIB UK and an effective member of BAGAIA.

 

Within the country, there are several memorandum of understanding (MOUs), now executed for the same purpose. Stronger relationship is now  established with the civil aviation authority.

 

With the emergence of a new administration under Olateru, the focus has been to drive the agency performance in ensuring delivery of its mandate. Olateru inherited several accident investigation reports, non-trained investigators and non-serviceable equipment.

 

To aid the growth, he sought and the minister approved intervention funds and it can be boldly affirmed that since inception till date, he has achieved a rating of 82 per cent.

 

AIB-N is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Aviation charged with the responsibility of investigating any civil aircraft accident and serious incident arising out of, or in the course of air navigation and occurring either in or over Nigeria, or occurring to Nigerian aircraft elsewhere.

 

The fundamental objective of AIB is to improve aviation safety by determining the circumstances and causes of air accidents and serious incidents, and providing safety recommendations intended to prevent recurrence of similar accidents.

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