In a bid to secure a safer airspace in West Africa, accident investigation officers across Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, are undergoing training in accident or incident investigation in the state safety programme.
The training, which is currently ongoing in Abuja, has representative of the accident investigation agencies from these countries, who will be groomed in air accident or incident programme and ways of offering preventive measures.
Recall that Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Liberia, Guinea make up the Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA) a regional body, which collaborate on air safety in West Africa.
Speaking at the event, Engineer Mohammed Wali, director of operations and representative of the Commissioner of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria, said “the impact of the workshop cannot be over emphasized. As investigators, we take the mess and turn it into a message and at the end of the day, you have the safety recommendation which will definitely will be good for the industry in terms of safety aspect.
“We had a workshop like this in Lagos and anytime you have a resource person like Dennis, he keeps the room charged because everyone wants to hear form him because of his experience. In Nigeria, we have released over 64 reports.
“The last fatal crash we had was about three years and in the last six years, the Nigerian air space has been one of the safety in the world. So, when you look at the role AIB and NCAA plays in accident, the synergy is the result of the safer skies we have now.”
Speaking further, he said “on flight recorders; Nigeria has one of the best labs in the world and just recently, we helped Cameroon to retrieve information from a damaged recorder which has never been done in Africa. This training is mainly on flight recorders because of the expertise Nigeria has. So, all other BAGAIA countries are here for the training. Some of the countries here are; Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Liberia, Guinea.”
Also speaking, the BAGAIA commissioner, Engr. Charles Erhueh said: “These dual workshops will deepen our knowledge further in understanding safety as well as the investigative processes, it will further expatiate on stakeholders’ role during the investigation in terms of the state safety programme. Also, this will let us have the understanding the benefits of the use of drones in accident investigations while looking beyond the flight recorders.
“Note that once an accident happened and the scene becomes contaminated by people who should not be there, their actions more often than not, derail the investigative process. Sometimes you see a massive crowd looting and carting away things from the scene all in the guise ‘to help’.
“So, during our workshops, we will talk about partnering with the right stakeholders: airport authorities,military, police, national civil defense, construction companies, emergency management agencies and even how to relate with communities where the crash happened so as to inform them of their role, which by the way is most critical if we are to get good results.”