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Officially, Nigeria has the best aviation safety records in all of Africa


The Director General of Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Akin Olateru, has described Nigeria’s aviation safety record as the best in Africa after the country recorded only two fatal accidents in the industry within the last decade.

According to a statement issued Friday by James Odaudu, the bureau’s Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Mr Olateru commented on the country’s aviation safety records while speaking on the theme: “Nigeria Evolving Approach to Aviation Safety and Learning from Occurrence Investigation – The NSIB Experience,” at the seventh edition of the Aviation Africa Summit held in Abuja.

“In the last 10 years, there have been two fatal civil accidents leading to the unfortunate loss of 9 souls in Nigeria,” the official was quoted as saying.

Incidents

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Mr Olateru said between 2005 and 2023, 78 accidents and serious incidents have occurred in the country with four incidents in the safety Bulletin amounting to 82.

He said that 260 safety recommendations have been issued by his agency within the period with 12 incidents in the Safety Bulletin totalling 272 safety recommendations.

The official said the safety recommendations and their appreciable implementation and enforcement were largely responsible for the safety successes recorded since the inception of the current NSIB administration.

Explaining the changes and responsibilities over the years, Mr Olateru said: “There were 154 accidents, 46 of which were fatal between 1948 and 2005 with a total fatality of 1,445 passengers.”

Initially, he said the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of the Ministry of Aviation handled aviation occurrence investigation as well as Airworthiness Certification and that this created a peculiar challenge for the regulator also being the investigator.

“How could the Regulator be expected to objectively investigate herself and hold herself accountable in cases where contributing causes of occurrences were traced to poor or non-existent regulatory oversight function and enforcement by her?” he queried.

“It was becoming clear that we had to re-jig our Aviation safety regulations and Accident Investigation and bring them to par with relevant ICAO annexes and international best practices.”

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According to the statement, the NSIB boss said his agency now embodies the evolving approach to aviation safety and learning from occurrence investigation which has led to safer skies in Nigeria.

He listed the evolving approach to include the separation of investigative from regulatory functions, granting autonomy and investigative independence to the Investigator (NSIB) and laying emphasis on early release of Accident Reports.

Other measures include synergy between the regulator (NCAA) and investigator (NSIB) in the monitoring and enforcement of safety recommendations; a memorandum of understandings for collaboration with neighbouring countries to help with investigations; and sharing of facilities and information.

The NSIB boss also identified the development of a mechanism for early reporting of occurrence and the development of identified technical skills amongst NSIB staff among several initiatives as part of the evolving approaches to accident investigation in Nigeria.


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