By Kenneth Ehigiator
The Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, of the Aviation Ministry has blamed delayed release of accident reports in the country inadequate technical workforce and absence of a flight data decoding laboratory.
This comes against the backdrop of non-release of final reports of investigation into the crashes involving Bellview, Sosoliso and ADC Airlines Lisa, Ogun State, Port Harcourt and Abuja in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
However, AIB Commissioner, Engr. Sam Oduselu, told the public at the just-concluded Lagos International Trade Fair, that the agency was doing everything possible to address the shortcomings.
According to him, prompt release of accident reports will benefit the country, especially as the essence of such reports is to avert a recurrence of more accidents in the aviation industry.
Engr. Oduselu said, though the agency had very well trained accident investigators, the AIB was hamstrung particularly by lack of a laboratory for analysis of data gathered at accident scenes, stressing that the AIB currently relied on foreign sister agencies to handle data decoding.
This, according to him, takes so much time, which also affects ultimate release of final reports of accidents.
He said: “We have engaged experienced and competent aviation professionals who are well trained in the art of accident investigation. We are still beefing up our technical workforce.
“We are also putting together modern facilities to enhance our capability to carry out timely and accurate investigation.
“Very soon our laboratory, which will enable us to decode flight data recorders in_house will be in place. We currently decode abroad.
“This laboratory will be the second in Africa and will definitely add more speed to our investigations even as it will enhance our leadership role in the region.”
“Our mission is to carry out qualitative and timely investigations with competent aviation professionals, applying best practices.”
He said the agency was now focussing more on accident prevention rather than allow it to occur and then embark on investigation.
Oduselu said the need to prevent accident informed recent workshops and seminars on how to promote safety in flight operations.
Explaining the reasons for accident investigation, Engr. Oduselu said: “The purpose of investigation is to determine the circumstances leading to an accident, with a view to preventing future reccurrence of similar accident or incident by making safety recommendations. It is not to apportion blame or liability.”He commended organisers of the trade fair for giving the AIB the opportunity to enlighten the public about its services.