Reps raise alarm over dominance of used aircraft, unsafe practices

Posted by Jacob Segun Olatunji and Kehinde Akintola, Abuja | 3 July 2019 | 910 times

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The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, tasked Federal Ministry of Aviation, to liaise with the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Accident Investigative Bureau (AIB) and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) to enforce all safety standards as prescribed in the aviation industry guidelines, so as to forestall future crashes in the country.

The House also urged Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to ensure that all Aircraft in Nigeria are adequately maintained, and certify airworthy before commencing operation, in order to prevent further ordeals.

In the same vein, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) were also advised prevail on aircraft owners to keep strict adherence with the rules of weather condition while flying.

The resolutions were passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon Chris Azobogu (PDP-Anambra), who expressed concern over the recent near mishap of Air Peace Airline, Boeing 737-500 on Saturday 22nd June 2019 while about to land.

Some of the lawmakers who spoke in support of the motion include Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP-Abia); Olumide Osoba (APC-Ogun); Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno); Abdulrasak Namdas (APC-Adamawa) Toby Okechukwu (PDP-Enugu), among others.

In his lead debate, HonbAzubogu explained that on the 22nd June 2019, an Air-peace aircraft, from Akanu Iblam International Airport, Enugu to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, attempted landing, twice, but recorded no success, due to poor weather condition.

He recalled that 117 people who were on board a Boeing 737 Belview Airline Flight 210 died in October 2005; 108 passengers, mostly students of Loyola Jesuit College in Abuja on board Sossoliso aircraft which crashed while landing at Port-Harcourt Airport, in December 2005, due to bad weather, and dysfunctional runway lighting.

According to him, “In October 2006, a Boeing 737-200 operated by ADC Airlines scheduled to Sokoto airport but with an intermediate stop-over at Abuja airport, crashed in a corn farm few minutes after take-off from Abuja Airport, sending about 97 people to their early grave.

“It is on record that the pilot refusal to acknowledge prevailing weather condition was the cause of the crash.

“On March 15, 2008: Beechcraft 1900D marked, 5N-JAH, on a routine flight from Lagos, belonging to Wing Aviation, crashed in Calabar Cross River State, killing all four crew members. On March 8, 2011, HS-125 chartered aircraft crashed in Bauchi. It was gathered that no casualty was recorded.

“On July 29, 2011, a Kwara State-bound helicopter crashed in Osun State, killing the Managing Director of Josepdam Group of Companies, Mrs. Josephine Oluwadamilola Kuteyi, her Personal Assistance and others on board

“On June 3, 2012, a Lagos-bound Dana aircraft crashed few minutes from landing at Iju, Agege suburb of Lagos,” he observed.

The lawmakers also decried the spate of importation of fairly used aircraft into the country.

They also harped on the need for all operators to adhere strictly with the regulations in line with international best practices.

In his contribution, Hon. Monguno who described previous administration’s investment into the industry as ‘penny wise pound foolish’, decried the “negligence to the nitty-gritty of aviation industry,”£ stressing that “rather we opted for the cosmetic dressing of the airports under the guise of remodeling and construction of runways.”

He also stressed the need for appropriation in the 2020 budget to upgrade the runways in line with international standard.

In his remarks, Hon Abdulrasak Namdas who was the immediate past Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs advocated for the safe aviation industry with the view to avert national disaster and ensure the safety of millions of Nigerians and foreigners.

While calling for the intervention of the House, Namdas who underscored the need for immediate repositioning of the country’s aviation, specifically frowned at the situation where some of the regulatory agencies have constituted themselves to operators, hence compromising the set standards in the industry.

Also speaking, Toby Okechukwu (PDP-Enugu) lamented over the spate of human errors, negligence by pilots and personnel as well as a plethora of accidents in Port Harcourt due to flooding.

While noting that the industry has the adequate facilities to manage the various crisis, Okechukwu frowned at the spate of negligence by individuals and personnel of the industry whose salaries are paid from public funds to handle such issues.

He lamented that the waterlogging at the 1.8km runway at Enugu Airport pose a great challenge for aircraft to land.

In the bid to address the deficiencies, Okechukwu underscored the need to ensure adherence to due diligence and standard design of the airport, stressing that we must make sure we have experienced personnel.

While ruling, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila who presided over the session, mandated the Committee on Legislative Compliance when constituted, to ensure compliance. (Nigerian Tribune)


Source: News Express

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