Senate to summon aviation minister over air mishaps

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi SIrika.

By Omotilewa Quadri  

The Senate is considering summoning the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over recent air mishaps in the country.

The upper legislative chamber also wants the heads of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and every other relevant agency in the aviation industry to appear before it and explain steps taken to prevent disaster.

The Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Gbenga Ashafa, spoke about this at plenary on Tuesday

Ashafa recalled a recent incident where a Dana aircraft overshot the runway in Port Harcourt and similar incidents.

“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,” he said.

“Just a few weeks before the aforementioned event, there was also panic on Wednesday, 7th of February, 2018, when the emergency door of an aircraft conveying passengers to Abuja fell off upon landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja;

“While the said aircraft was cleared to return to service on the same day by the relevant authorities, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), an experienced Pilot interviewed by Thisday Newspaper of Thursday, 8th February 2018 was of the opinion that the aircraft might have experienced a component failure.

“In his words as quoted by Thisday Newspaper: ‘What happened is likely to be a component failure due to a hard landing. It couldn’t have fallen off when the aircraft was airborne because the aircraft cabin is pressurised. It is very difficult for that to happen but it could fall off when the aircraft is on the ground.’

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

The senator said there is the need to ensure that all relevant agencies in the aviation industry do their work with excellence and minimal human error in order to prevent crashes.

The upper legislative chamber directed the minister to ensure that all relevant agencies in the industry to immediately conduct a maintenance and airworthiness audit on all commercial aircraft operating within the country.

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