Sunday 30 December 2012

Non-Civilian air mishaps matters arising.

Aviation Nigeria
By Tahir Sherriff

In the wake of the recent tragic helicopter accident which claimed the lives of six people including the Governor of Kaduna State Ibrahim Patrick Yakowa and immediate former National Security Adviser General Andrew Azazi. There have been attempts to play the blame game with accusing fingers being pointed at the Ministry of Aviation. It is thus essential to bring the matter into a broader understanding.

The accusations come in an alignment with the recent crash, and in general, the volume of airplane crashes in the year 2012 alone. Four other crashes that had equally thrown the country into national mourning this year include: A national police aircraft crash in Rukuba road, Kabong area of Jos killing DIG John Haruna and his aide, Dana Airlines flight 9J 992 crash killing 153 passengers and residents of Iju Ishaga, a Nigerian cargo plane in Ghana leading to ten deaths, and the crash of an aircraft flown by Governor of Taraba State Danababa Suntai.

In a bid to properly address the blame issue and clarify responsibilities that accompany such critical circumstances, it is important to note that other than the Dana Air crash and the Nigerian Cargo plane crash in Ghana, the Aviation authorities have no form of control over the remaining events.
There is currently no legal framework compelling all air crafts, helicopters or jet usage in use in Nigeria whether belonging to the military or for civilian to come under the supervisory and monitoring purview of the Federal Ministry of Aviation. Two of these five crashes that have claimed the lives of Nigerians were entirely not under the jurisdiction or control of the Aviation Ministry or any of its agencies

The ill-fated crash in Jos which claimed the life of the DIG John Haruna was under the command and control of the Nigerian Police Force, there are pointers to the fact that Suntai flew from a daylight Air Strip at a time when it was almost dusk and the recent helicopter crash that has claimed the lives of two high profile leaders was in the control, command and authority of the Nigerian Navy. In line with such events it is best to enable regulations that ensure proper and full authority is accorded to those who are tasked with such responsibility.

CIVIL SOCIETY AVIATION COALITION (CSAC) a non-governmental coalition group with focus on aviation safety have canvassed for the implementation of comprehensive measures to bring the operations of all civilian and military aircrafts under the supervision of the aviation experts that work in the Federal Ministry of Aviation so that the highest maintenance standards and ethical code of conduct is adhered to as practiced in other countries around the globe. By implementing such measures it is hoped that stricter and more regulated air safety compliance’s will better guarantee the lives of Nigerians.

The group urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to consider ways and means of introducing a workable legal framework to make it compulsory that all aircraft including military helicopters and private jets are monitored to ensure the highest standards of maintenance and safety to fly on Nigerian airspace by the nation’s Aviation authority in the Federal Ministry of Aviation.

In a bid to address the responsibility situation caused by the recent helicopter crash, the Chief of Training and Operations of the Nigerian Navy, in a press release said that a board had been constituted at a news conference in Abuja on Monday in order to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the helicopter crash.

He stated clearly that the Nigerian Navy had pooled together Nigerian technical military aircraft investigation specialists, and foreign personnel, who have been drawn from Agusta Westland, the manufacturer of the ill-fated aircraft with help from other aviation regulatory agencies as provided by extant regulations to investigate the crash.

In the continuing analysis it has become clear that this does not come under the purview of the NCAA, however, these tragic losses end up affecting the nation at large. But more importantly, still, is the question, on what is to be done to avoid such tragic incidences in the future.


  1. So are you saying the aviation authorities have no hand in regulating the affairs of the military so far? Thats just un-professional.

  2. These days everyone want to start advising the president. But good points nonetheless.

  3. The failure is that accidents had to happen before this was pointed out. Why speak now? Where was this group before?