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ICAO reads riot act to Nigeria over cover up of air accident reports



ICAO reads riot act to Nigeria over cover up of air accident reports

In apparent reaction to the recent International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) query to Nigeria for its failure to make public all air accidents, numbering about 40 in the past 15 years, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has pledged to publish 37 of the investigated reports before May.

As part of an anticipated assessment visit to Nigeria in June 2017, ICAO was said to have frowned at the delay in publishing the reports, years after they had occurred.

ICOA inspectors will be coming back to Nigeria by September, in conclusion of its evaluation of Nigeria’s performance in the aviation sector.

The international body had after its last visit in 2015 given the country two years to put its house in order for another visit, described by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as “crucial.”

But Jiefang Huang, ICAO Head of legal was quoted as having stated that some developing member-countries of the body, including Nigeria, had not been making public their findings of air accidents because of issues bordering on compensation to victims.

He said the international body now makes revisiting past accidents an issue topping the lists of demands to be met, especially major air mishaps with heavy fatalities.

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It is on this fall-out that Nigeria was asked to, in addition to the accident reports being published, calibrate all its airports and airspace with modern aviation equipment, if the country would want to retain its status as the West African hub.

This is in view of the competition being offered in that regard by Ghana, said aviation expert, Mr. Chris Aligbe.

However, briefing newsmen on Thursday, the new AIB Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Akin Olateru, promised that before April, his agency would make public more than 37, out of the number of air accident reports with the agency.

He said the delay being witnessed in publishing most of the reports is because some of them are yet to be completed.

But one of those ready for immediate publication, is the final account of the June 3, 2012, Dana Air crash, which killed about 163 on-board and on ground at the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos.

“This and three others would be submitted to the Presidency for approval before being released to the public any moment from now.

“Four other accidents would be made known by next week (mid March 2017), while a minimum of 10 other reports will be released before the end of this year.

“The era of keeping accident reports in the bureau’s wardrobe was over with this management team,” Olateru further stated.

Investigation revealed that beside the Dana crash report, the AIB is planning bringing forward two helicpter-related accidents because of the highly placed firms and their top management executives, who often use them.

Thus, the reports of the two accidents involving Bristow Helicopters and one with AOS Helicopters, would be sent to the Presidency, along with that of Dana Air, for approval, AIB senior management staff told Ripples Nigeria during a phone chat on Friday.

The first of the two Bristow Helicopters crashes occurred on August 13, 2015 at the Oworonshoki Area of the Third Mainland Bridge with six fatalities, while six others sustained serious injuries.

The second, which also crashed into the high sea, was coming from an offshore platform, though without fatalities.

Also, the AOS helicopters crash occurred on July 29, 2011 between Ife and Ogbomosho. The reports of the accident would be made public in March ending.

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