Nigeria lost 2,038 lives to air crashes in 53 years, says AIB

The Accident Investigation Bureau on Sunday said a total of 2,038 lives were lost to air crashes in Nigeria in the past 53 years.

It therefore tasked the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to mandate airlines to develop assistance plans for the families of air crash victims in Nigeria.

AIB’s Chief Executive Officer, Akin Olateru, disclosed this in Abuja at the 2022 International Day for the Commemoration of Air Crash Victims and their Families.

He said, “In Nigeria, from the year 1969 to 2022, a total of 2,038 (1996 on board passengers and 42 on ground) lives have been lost to air crashes.

“When an aircraft accident or serious incident occurs, it is always an unexpected and mostly fatal event that causes great distress and loss to the victims and their families.”

Olateru noted that to support families of victims of air crashes, the International Civil Aviation Organisation came up with policies to champion this.

He explained that family assistance entailed the provision of services and information that would address the concerns and needs of the aircraft accident victims and their families.

“The ICAO policies and guidelines ensure that the needs of the victims and their families are addressed in a timely manner,” he stated.

The AIB boss added, “I, therefore, would like to use this opportunity to recommend that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority put in place effective policies and regulations that will mandate airline operators in the country to have Family Assistance Plans as part of their emergency plan or procedure.

“The NCAA should also ensure that such assistance programmes are supervised, exercised and audited appropriately.”

Olateru, however, noted that a significant decrease in accident rates had been recorded through several activities including investigations and their safety recommendations, voluntary safety reporting, safety cultures, and Safety Management Systems.

He stated that poor safety management in aviation would not only damage the aircraft involved, but could also cause the avoidable loss of human lives onboard the unfortunate aircraft and, sometimes, on ground.

Reacting to the recommendation of the AIB on family assistance plans for families of air crash victims, the Director-General, NCAA, Musa Nuhu, said the authority would look at the request and take the necessary action about it.

Article first published on the Punch Website

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