By Helen Udoh, Outlook Media ABUJA.
The Director General , Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau(NSIB), Engr. Akin Olateru has been honoured with the ‘Integrity and Anti-corruption Ambassador’ award by the Nigerian youth against Corruption and Transparency Initiative in recognition of the transformation and developmental strides the Bureau has witnessed under his leadership.
Presenting the Award at the Bureau’s Headquarters, in Abuja on Wednesday, Group Coordinator, Engr. Abdul Malik Usman, said members of the Group decided to confer the award on the Bureau’s Director General in recognition of his contributions to the development of the nation’s aviation safety through rapid transformation of the Bureau to emerge as one of the best accident investigating bodies in the world.
In a statement signed by Mohammed Farouk Yakub
For: Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection on Wednesday in ABUJA said “Our Organisation is very proud of the transformation and developmental strides in the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau( NSIB) which cannot be overemphasised. Your unrelenting dedication to a corruption-free society, contribution to nation building, among others, called for appreciation and recognition and to this end, we decided to honour you with this award, he stated.
Receiving the award, Engr. Olateru appreciated members of the organisation for recognising his modest contributions to aviation safety through the Investigation of occurrences and timely release of reports along safety recommendations which he described as the by product of the investigation usually addressed to industry stakeholders such as, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), the affected airlines, Air craft Manufacturers, among others, to prevent the reoccurrence of the incident.
The Bureau established in 2006 according to him, and had done its best under his leadership since 2017 when he became its head in the fulfilment of its mandate to probe into air accidents / incidents and timely release of reports for a safer airspace in Nigeria and beyond.
He informed the organisation that the government, in recognition of the roles played by the Bureau, signed into law the NSIB Act 2022 for the expansion of its mandate and scope as a multi-modal agency to investigate not just air accidents and incidents , but maritime, railway and any other modes of transportation across the country.
“And that has put Nigeria at par with countries like United States of America, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, among others , to have a single agency doing all the investigations,” he stated.
Explaining further, Engr Olateru said the reason behind this, is to ensure transparency and objectivity in the investigation of occurrences.
“There are 3 legs to any transportation system. You have the service providers, you have the regulators, and then, the Investigators. During occurrences, sometimes it could be the regulators that might have caused the reason for the occurrence. That is why you can’t be regulator and the Investigator all together”.
He recalled between 2003 to 2005 during which period Nigeria had such situations which led to numerous air crashes in the country.
“Nigeria used to have this arrangement, but the wisdom of government to separate regulatory from investigating responsibilities has not just improved air safety, it has also enabled air transport business to dramatically rised in Nigeria .
“Gone are the days when people hesitated boarding an aircraft” he stressed further, saying in the past people would rather travel by road instead of aeroplanes for safety considerations .
“Today, this is not so as the conscious efforts that had been put in place by the Bureau in collaboration with other relevant agencies which have ensured a safer airspace for the flying public.
“Safety is not achieved by accident. It is not something that just happened at ago. Conscious efforts had gone into it . For a safer airspace to have been in place , the regulatory body, the investigating agency and other industry stakeholders must have contributed their bits to the overall safety networks”.
Olateru assured of the Bureau’s continuous prompt response to occurrences and timely release of its reports along with right safety recommendations to deal with the reason why that particular occurrence happened. This, he said, is the only way the agency can continue to protect the system from reoccurrence.
He noted that the Agency under his leadership enhances air safety from the rear which explained his delight for been spotted and honoured with the award .
“We enhance safety from the rear. And that is why am so happy that you spotted us. I really want to thank you for this initiative and for giving us the encouragement to do more, “ he added.