The Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB has denied the claim of the Senate that the Bureau is keeping the reports of investigations into air crashes in the country from the public.
A statement signed by the general manager public affairs of AIB , Tunji Oketunbi stated that: “For record purpose, Sosoliso Accident report, which had been released since 2006 and published in the national newspapers has been on the Bureau’s website for several years now. Bellview and ADC crash reports have been published and on our website since 2012 while Dana’s preliminary report has been published since July 2012. Other outstanding accident reports are being diligently pursued”.
Oketunbi explained that a little research including a check on their website or the aviation committee of the Senate would have made the Senate debate unnecessary.
According to him, ” the Senate Committee on Aviation is aware of the diligence and the passion with which AIB has been pursuing the delivery of its mandate. The committee is also not unaware of the challenges facing the Bureau, especially with funding. It is, however pertinent to let the public be aware that aircraft accident investigation, contrary to public expectation may takes a little time as it is a complex and thorough exercise”.
He said the purpose of accident investigation is to determine facts relating to an accident and to prevent future re-occurrence of similar occurrence by making safety recommendations, adding that this demands thoroughness and leaves no room for assumption.
In his words: “Some of the investigations conducted by AIB have led to significant safety improvements in the global aviation community. Examples of these are two Alert Service Bulletins by Sikorsky, a helicopter manufacturer following our preliminary investigations into the recent Bristow crash in Oworonshoki, Lagos and a Mandatory Service Bulletin by Diamond Aircraft Manufacturer on a serious incident involving Diamond DA 42 with registration number 5N-BKS that occurred in Benin in July 2012. These have contributed to preventing further accidents of similar nature and the attendant loss of lives.”
Oketunbi explained further that despite the constraints and challenges, AIB is making its modest contributions to air safety improvements and accident prevention locally and globally.
He emphasised that, it is statutory for AIB to publish accident reports and so cannot keep it from the public.
“We appeal to members of the public to always avail themselves of the channels of communication that AIB has provided for the purpose of dissemination or accessing information”, Oketunbi said.
Oketunbi stressed that Accident Investigation Bureau holds the Senate and the distinguished senators in high regard and would not want to join issue with the premier legislative arm.
He maintained that,”the AIB is saddened by this unjustified vilification of the Bureau on the floor of the senate as the allegation was mostly incorrect. The Senate was misinformed. As at the time the debate was going on in the Senate the reports referred to were on the Bureau’s web site (aib.gov.ng) and just a click away from any interested member of the public.”
It would be recalled that the Senate on Tuesday condemned the Accident Investigation Bureau for keeping the reports of investigation into air crashes in the country from the public.
The upper chamber subsequently mandated its Committee on Aviation to thoroughly investigate the remote and immediate causes of the trend and report its findings to the Senate within two weeks.
The Senator that raised the matter before the Senate alluded to the reports on Sosoliso crash of 2005, Bellview crash of 2005, ADC crash of 2006 and DANA crash of 2012 as major reports that were yet to be in the public domain.