The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria has revealed that it plans to train staff on drones and other handheld investigative devices to make the Bureau’s task of gathering and analyzing data from crash sites less cumbersome.

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The Bureau has released four (4) new air accidents reports, bringing the total number of final reports of air accidents to a record 26 in four years.

The Commissioner/CEO of AIB Nigeria, Engr. Akin Olateru made the disclosure when the Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime visited the agency to ascertain their level of ICT infrastructure and cybersecurity architecture.

He revealed that the Bureau has concluded plans to commence training for aircraft accident investigators in the West African sub-region.

The AIB Commissioner noted that “the bureau has acquired some drones and our staff are scheduled to undergo the training to enable us get aerial shots of crash sites and proper analysis.”

He stated that the handheld investigation equipment devices will help its investigators to carry out on-the-spot analysis of evidence at the crash site and also the download of the Flight Data Recorder & Cockpit Voice Recorder.

The Commissioner/CEO of AIB Nigeria, Engr. Akin Olateru
The Commissioner/CEO of AIB Nigeria, Engr. Akin Olateru.

On investigation reports set to be released, AIB commissioner said the Bureau can now carry out and release air accident report in 18 months from the date of the accident.

He said, “We will be releasing an additional four reports tomorrow, which will bring the total number of final reports released to 31 and 106 safety recommendations during this current administration.”

He announced that the releases will make a total of 49 final reports and 187 safety recommendations since the inception of AIB.

He also told the senators that AIB now releases air accidents in record time unlike in the past, saying that this was made possible due to the capability it has attained in the last four years in terms of equipment and human capital.

Olateru said since he assumed office in 2017, AIB has released 26 final accident reports and issued 97 safety recommendations to the public. This, he said represented 64 per cent of releases since the inception of AIB.

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AIB has partnerships with the United Kingdom Air Accident investigation Bureau (AAIB UK), Singapore Transportation Safety Investigative Board (TSIB), Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB Canada) and the University of Ilorin among others.

Olateru also appealed to the Senate for improved funding and the quick passage of its Amendment Act to enhance its operations

The Commissioner revealed that beyond partnerships with local and international institutions, it has also completed plans to begin training air accident investigators for West Africa at its Abuja facility in partnership with the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime Sen. Yakubu Oseni in his remarks, stated that fresh experiences arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed rampaging threats to the digital ecosystem and have further exposed the need for accelerated development in ICT.

He also said in Nigeria, the concern is not only about cyber-security threat, but also weak systems hence the need for the oversight.

The committee members were later taken through AIB modern accident analysing facilities and the lawmakers expressed satisfaction with the achievement of the bureau in recent years.