The Accident Investigation Bureau Nigeria (AIB-N) has disclosed that there is a need to enter strategic collaborations and form alliances with various stakeholders in construction, maritime, air transport, the fire departments and other organizations.
The Commissioner and Chief Executive of the AIB-N, Engineer Akin Olateru, made the disclosure at the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) Gateway Virtual Forum, stating that partnerships are formed to ensure separate units mesh together and form a well oiled-unit that would get the job done no matter where.
He explained that not having the required partnerships frustrated the job and investigation reports need to be timely for things to be learnt from them.
He explained that the AIB-N are not divers and neither do they have diving apparatus like frogmen suits to go into the deep to retrieve wreckage or black boxes as they are not trained, and so he needs a strategic alliance with the Navy which he has started to work on.
He also said the AIB-N does not have aircraft and so when an aircraft crashes in difficult terrain, they would need the Nigeria Air force.
He said, “It is very serious and some agencies of government do not understand why we need all these collaborations, they don’t understand why we are pushing for this cooperation.
I’d give you an instance God forbid an aircraft crash into the sea, AIB, I don’t have the capacity for sea divers to retrieve any wreckage or to retrieve my ‘BlackBox’ but Nigerian Navy does.
“Since 2017, I have been pursuing the Nigeria Navy to sign an MoU. It is not the day we have an accident that we start looking for whom to call, this is the essence of all these MoUs.
Recently, we just signed with the Nigerian Air Force and one of the benefits of that is, aircraft which drops from the sky in a bad or difficult terrain that we cannot access, the Air Force can help us with the logistics.
“We too can be of help to the Air Force because we have a world-class safety lab in Abuja and so rather than the Air Force sending their ‘BlackBox’ overseas, they can use our lab and save Nigeria some cost. At the end of the day, it is to the benefit of the entire nation.
He went on, “National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), we have been at this MoU since 2017, we are still talking and that’s what I mean by sometimes it can be frustrating. AIB is not Akin Olateru’s own; it’s a Federal Government agency.
“We have done a lot of training with Nigeria Police and have trained them as first responders on what to do at the crash site, we’ve trained civil defence too.
Nigeria Police we are still waiting for the MoU to be signed but we will get there, we just have to keep pushing I view it as 100% important for all the agencies to come together and work as a team.
The AIB Commissioner has always recognized the importance of agencies like Nigerian Police Force, Fire Service and other law enforcement agencies for the role they played in securing the recent crash site and controlling the crowd at the scene as the first responders
He also stated that AIB has conducted several training sessions involving members of security agencies such as the Nigerian Police Force, the Civil Defense Corps, and Federal Road Safety Corps, on the importance of securing crash sites so as to ensure that evidence is not tampered with.