Panel submits report on Donnier crash
Paul Obi in Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) committee entrusted with the investigation of the accidental bombing of an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Rann, Borno State, has appealed for an extension in order to thoroughly investigate the incident.
The committee headed by the NAF’s Chief of Standard and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal Salihu Bala-Ribbah, was inaugurated in January and mandated to submit its report on February 2, 2017.
The Chief of the Air Staff, (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, told journalists yesterday in Abuja that “the committee has asked for an extension of its mandate in order to get all the facts.”
The air chief added that “the committee has visited the affected area, interviewed all the relevant people and in the process of putting down a report.”
Also, NAF revealed that a special trend described “as ‘Special Disorientation’ was responsible for the tragic crash of the Donnier 228 aircraft with tail number NAF 030 which crashed after take-off in Kaduna on August 29, 2015.”
The Chairman of a special investigation panel and NAF’s Director of Safety, Air Vice Marshal Sampson Akpasa, added that “detailed investigations by the manufacturers of the aircraft revealed that there was nothing wrong with the engine.
Akpasa stated: “We shipped the engine to the manufacturers, Honeywell Aerospace in Arizona USA, two board members observed the tear down of the engines between October 30 to November 4, 2015.
“Also, analysis on the fuel used by the aircraft was done by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and we found that both engines were working well at the time of the accident also, the fuel was found to be safe,” he stressed.
The incident resulted in seven occupants of the aircraft sustaining fatal injuries, the aircraft was also damaged.
Akpasa also said investigation is ongoing on an F7Ni incident in Yola in 2016, stating that, “unexploded ordinance carried by the aircraft was buried underground and has not been exhume.
“On the Augusta 101 helicopter which crashed in Markudi in October 2016, he said parts of the aircraft have been flown to the United Kingdom and Canada for analysis.”
Abubakar speaking on the Donnier aircraft explained that “there was no engine problem, what happened was special disorientation, it is a phenomenon in flying and we are training more safety officers to monitor our flying activities.
“On the F7 jet, the pilot died and investigations are ongoing, we will get the necessary support from the manufacturers to get a conclusive investigation. The NAF will continue to build capacity, train and get the best of the equipment in our care.”
In another development, participants at the first Nigerian Army Research and Innovation Summit bemoaned the absence of enabling legislation in support of military research and innovation.
This was made known at the end of a three-day deliberation which featured members of the armed forces, academia, private security companies and equipment manufacturers and lawmakers
The participants tasked the National Assembly to pass into law, the bill on National Policy on Research, Development and Innovation before the end of the third quarter of 2017.
The summit with the theme, ‘Research and Innovation: Developing Synergy with Indigenous Institutions for Enhanced Capacity in the Nigerian Army,’ was geared towards leveraging on government policies and programmes in support of research and innovation.
In the communiqué issued at the end of the summit said participants “recognized the need for effective research and innovation towards the enhancement of Nigeria’s military capacity and closing the technology gap through the adoption of reverse engineering and re-engineering methods.”
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, who applauded the commitment of participants at the end of the summit, explained that the event addresses the core mandate of the Nigerian Army.