The Senate, yesterday, passed the bill for the establishment of Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), a multimodal agency for aviation, rail and maritime safety.
The bill, when assented into law by the President, would expand the country’s Accident Investigation Bureau’s (AIB-N) remits into the rail and maritime operations.
Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of AIB, Akin Olateru, said the passage of the bill by both the Senate and House of Representatives signposts a bright new beginning for the AIB.
Olateru noted that the establishment of the NSIB would put Nigeria on top in Africa as regards transportation accident investigation with the country becoming the first to have such agency in the continent.
He explained that the establishment of the NSIB is a good development and would be of great benefit to all Nigerians, as it is expected to provide an adequate legal and institutional framework for the regulation and administration of safety transportation occurrences in the country.
“The NSIB would reinforce safety in all modes of transportation in Nigeria through distinctive, efficient and effective investigations of accidents and serious incidents involving any of the modes of transportation within Nigeria or anywhere else Nigeria’s interest is affected.
“The NSIB will determine the probable causes of accidents and serious incident occurrences in transportation and publish safety recommendations to operators, regulators and others, which would help prevent the recurring of similar occurrences, therefore, improving the safety of transportation in Nigeria,” Olateru said.
He congratulated the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, for the milestone, describing it as a reward for the diligence and commitment of the staff of the agency, who had been working tirelessly for the success of the exercise.
Enlarging the operations of AIB into a multimodal agency was one of the cardinal programmes of Olateru when he assumed office as the fourth Commissioner/CEO of AIB in 2017.
With the strong backing of the minister, the initiative got Federal Executive Council approval and passed through the Ministry of Justice before landing at the National Assembly. The National Assembly conducted open hearings where all stakeholders made their inputs.
Reacting to the news of the passage of the bill, the Commissioner of Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA), Charles Erhue, described the approval as a great feat to the AIB family and to the Banjul Accord Group (BAG) region.
“I wish to congratulate the Commissioner and the entire AIB Management team with the support of every staff member who has committed time and resources in one way or the other to make this a huge success,” Erhue said.
Secretary-General of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), reckoned that the passage is a big plus to the AIB Commissioner.
“Now, we have an equivalent of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). How I wish the National Assembly will also go-ahead to establish the equivalent of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to solve the problem of multi-layers of government security agencies in our airports, with each carrying guns and yet under different commands and controls,” Ojikutu said.