Senate Summons Sirika, Others Over Air Mishap

Senate Summons Sirika, Others Over Air Mishap
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The Senate on Tuesday, summoned the Minister of State for Transportation (Aviation), Hadi Sirika, Heads of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and others over air mishaps in the country.

The minister and the agencies are to appear before the upper chamber to give a full briefing on the steps they have been taken to minimise human errors and avoid preventable air crashes.

The resolutions were sequel to a motion on “the Need to Minimise the Possibility of Air Mishaps and Fatalities in Nigeria”, sponsored by Sen. Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos) during plenary.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Senate, however, did not specify when the ministers will appear before it.

Ashafa noted that on Feb. 20, 2018 the story of a near fatal incident involving Dana Airlines with number 9J0363 hit the news waves.

“It was reported that the aircraft overshot the runway upon landing at the Port Harcourt Airport, on a flight from Abuja. This incident was attributed to the wet surface of the runway.”

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“These recent occurrences might be a sign of a sequence of human errors, caused by failure of officials and staff of the agencies.

‘’They are saddled with the responsibility of guaranteeing safety to carry out their due diligence before issuing clearance for aircraft to operate within the Nigerian airspace.

“Nigeria has experienced a significant number of air catastrophes that cost the lives of hundreds of Nigerians, due to a range of causes, including human and technical errors,’’ he said.

The Senate also advised the minister to mandate the relevant agencies in the industry to immediately conduct a maintenance and airworthiness audit on all commercial aircraft operating within the Nigerian Airspace.

He said it was imperative to move with speed in order to ensure that all relevant agencies in the aviation industry did their work with excellence and minimal human error to prevent avoidable loss of human lives.

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Contributing, Sen. Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra), said the first person to ensure that accident and indeed incidents did not occur was the pilot, adding that the pilot was guided by aviation policy.

“We do not have aviation standard of Nigeria, we have a global aviation standard. The problem that aviation has is that of funding.

“Funding because you need to train the personnel, you need to buy the requisite equipment, the airline operators need to ensure that the aircraft was maintained.

“In aviation, there are number of hours that when you fly, you must shut down the aircraft and do maintenance.

Oduah, who was a former Minister of Aviation, called for a review of the aviation industry master plan which she said was last reviewed in the 1960s.

Sen. James Manager (PDP-Delta) lamented that a lot of lives were lost as a result of air mishaps in the country, stressing that the issue must be addressed ‘’squarely and frontally.’’

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Also speaking, Sen.Sam Anyanwu (PDP-Imo), called for government’s intervention in the sector in form of tax waiver.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary recalled that in 2016, “we had a similar debate, we set up a committee and went round and collated information.

“We did a resolution which was sent to the Federal Government and today, we are back to the same issue; debating the aviation sector and security concerns.

“This shows that we must do something quickly. It is important that this matter is settled quickly so that we ensure that those who fly in Nigeria fly safely,” Ekweremadu said.


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