The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has said that Nigeria’s airspace is one of the safest in the world, as no accident has been recorded in the country involving commercial airliner in over six years.
Sirika, who made this known thursday during an interactive session organised by the Air Traffic Controllers/Pilots Forum, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, remarked that irrespective of what international bodies like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) said, commercial air transportation in Nigeria has not recorded one single death during the aforementioned period.
Sirika said the Nigerian Air Management Agency (NAMA) is about navigational aids and about radio and instruments, adding that that should be their focus.
He said AIB should focus on accident investigation and making sure that the reports are out on time and that the safety recommendations can stand the test of time and be implemented.
He stressed that there is no point coming up with safety recommendations that cannot be implemented, remarking that when each agency concentrate on its mandate then there would be synergy among them.
“A lot of successes have been recorded since the beginning of this administration. Today, we have one of the best aviation safety records in the world. I don’t care what IATA ICAO say, Nigeria’s airspace is one of the safest in the world today. The facts are there. In the last four years of this administration, commercial air transportation in Nigeria has not recorded one single death. How many countries in the world can lay claim to that fact? This is why today; Nigeria is one of the safest places to be in terms of air transportation. But we need to work harder and collaborate, there is no other way to it,” Sirika said.
Sirika, who was represented at the occasion by the Commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Mr. Akin Olateru, urged all the aviation agencies to collaborate and ensure that this record is improved upon.
“The early years of the aviation industry was filled with trials, errors, and sacrifices but today, however, gold is the standard and over the last few years, commercial aviation in Nigeria has increased tremendously. How did we do it? Since the beginning of this administration, there are four elements that we have been focusing on: the infrastructure, equipment, human capital, and systems processes and procedures.
“Anywhere you are in the world, even if you are running a bakery, you need to focus on those elements because if you score less than 70 per cent in each, you don’t have a hub. You may have a fantastic infrastructure but if you don’t have fantastic equipment or if your human capital is not up to date or you don’t have procedure on how to do things, you don’t have a hub. This has been the focus of this administration,” the minister said.
He stated that all the aviation agencies are focused on their core mandates, noting that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) should focus more on the infrastructure development of the airport and that is why the agency is rebuilding airport runways.