NAF, AIB seek civil-military cooperation on air safety

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*The Chief of Air Staff, AVM Sadique Abubakar and Commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau, Mr. Akin Olateru during a courtesy visit by the latter at the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters in Abuja

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) have agreed set up a joint committee to explore areas of mutual cooperation to enhance aviation safety in the country.

The agreement was reached when the commissioner of AIB, Mr. Akin Olateru paid a courtesy call on the chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar in Abuja.

Speaking at the meeting, Olateru commended NAF for its role in aviation and in the defence of the nation.

He stressed the importance of a stronger relationship between the two bodies adding that NAF, with its facilities spread across the country is strategically placed to deploy them during emergencies.

He called for cooperation in human capital development and emergency response.

“There are a lot you can do for us in training. We know you don’t joke with training in NAF. We need to have cooperation with you in developing human capital. We also need a documented emergency response plan in which you can play a very critical roll. Working together will help AIB in fulfilling its mandate of accident investigation and prevention,” he said.

Olateru offered the Air Force the opportunity to use the Bureau’s flight laboratory for its incident and accident purposes just as the Chief of Staff pledged to post an officer to work in AIB as done to Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and some other agencies.

Responding, Abubakar praised AIB’s role in promoting safety in the aviation industry saying NAF would be willing to extend its human and material resources to the Bureau and asked it to identify the areas of assistance.

“Accident is what nobody wants but in aviation it happens sometimes despite every effort made to prevent it. We need to deal with issues before accident happens,” he added.

Abubakar said NAF had upgraded its medical and training facilities spread across the country to boost its capacity to respond promptly and effectively to emergencies.

Training of our personnel has been upgraded, especially for the pilots and engineers who have been given decent accommodation to ensure they are focused on safety.

“We train, provide facilities, seminars and make sure our hospitals are okay; we do medical evaluations. We have evaluations once quarterly for our pilots where they take written tests to make sure they are up to task. Same thing for our engineers,” he said.

He invited AIB to be part of safety evaluation so that NAF could have an independent assessment from an outsider.

“We need to have simulations of accidents to see the gaps and see what should be done. You may have excellent plan but when it comes to execution, it is a different thing,” he added.

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