AIB Commissioner asks airlines to set up investigation unit

Akin Olateru, the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria (AIB-N), has called on all Nigerian airlines to establish a unit for accident investigation in their respective organizations to enhance air safety.

Olateru said this while receiving the investigation team from Cameroon probing the crash of the Havilland DHC -6-400 Twin Otter operated by Caverton Cameroon at the Bureau’s headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by Tunji Oketunbi, the Bureau’s General Manager, Public Affairs the Commissioner said this would help the airlines to understand and take advantage of the benefits of accident investigation to boost safety in their operations.

Olateru held that big carriers like American Airlines have such units, which has greatly benefited the carriers adding that it is the responsibility of everyone to have an understanding of accident investigation in Africa.

The Commissioner further disclosed that when fully commissioned AIB-N training school will play significant role in training airlines’ personnel in accident investigation, which will help them in investigating occurrences with a view to enhancing safety in their operations.

AIB Training School, a training institution located in Abuja is near completion and is expected to commence operations before the end of the year. Singapore and other two countries, according to Olateru, have signified readiness to assist the AIB training school.

The Cameroonian delegation was led by Leopoldine Essimi of Ministry of Transport included Brice Okomou, Raymond Ekenglo and Mispa Samnick.

According to Essimi, they were in Nigeria to seek AIB-N expertise in the reading of the flight recorders, transcription of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), analysis of the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and FDR animation.

The DHR-6-400 Twin Otter (registered TJ-TIM) was operating Yaoundé (Nsimalen) – Dompta – Yaoundé (Nsimalen) on May 11, 2022 when it crashed killing all the passengers and crew members. The aircraft was found crashed in a forest, not far from Nanga Eboko.

According to Olateru, Nigeria was part of the investigation in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 13 since there were Nigerians onboard the ill-fated aircraft adding, however, that Cameroon has not decided whether it would cede the investigation completely to Nigeria or not.

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The Commissioner said Nigeria will be assisting Cameroon in the investigation with her Flight Safety Laboratory, which according to him is one of the best in the world currently.

The laboratory has an upgraded facility called Memory Access Retriever System (MARS), which will be deployed to retrieve information from the CVR, which was badly burnt and damaged.

“As you are aware, we have one of the best safety laboratories in the world. We have the capability, which the United States NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) has, which is getting information from burnt or damaged flight recorders. This aircraft crashed and a recorder badly burnt but we will be able to retrieve the information. This is one of the best equipment you can find in the world today,” the commissioner said.

The two countries are however exploring areas of cooperation and collaboration that can boost accident investigation and air safety in Africa.

Olateru said, “You will understand that this is not the first time Nigeria will be helping other nations. We helped Sao Tome and Principe during an investigation. We helped Gambia. We helped Niger republic. We are helping Sierra Leone. We just got an approval from the Ministry of Justice to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sierra Leone to help them set up an accident investigation body. This is where we are today. “

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