The proposed Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau Bill, 2020, an Act to provide for an effective legal and institutional framework for the regulation and administration of safety of transportation occurrences in Nigeria, if approved, will place the country amongst the top countries of the world with the best industry practices.
This became obvious during a paper presentation made to the Senate Committee on Aviation by the Commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Akin Olateru on the need for the passage of a bill to empower the Bureau to take charge of rail and marine accidents.
For Olateru, the purpose of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) is to enable the segregation of investigative activities and promote safety through the conduct of transport, independent and objective investigations in all cases of accidents and incidents involving any of the current modes of transportation in Nigeria.
According to Olateru, it has become a global practice that multimodality is the future of transport accident investigation, hence, the transition had always been made from the extant Air Accident Investigation Agency.
His words: “It has therefore become expedient that the provision of Section 29 of the Civil Aviation Act (CAA) be reviewed to establish the Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NISB) in a separate Act to bring up on speed with contemporary global best practice in the industry, to create a multimodal bureau for investigation of air, railway and maritime accidents.
He said: “It will be responsible for determining the probable causes of transportation accidents and serious incidents, publishing findings and making the necessary recommendations to operators, regulators and the general public to promote transportation safety, as appropriate.
“In Nigeria, the main modes of transportation are road and air. However, recent developments have shown the development of (and return to) railways, and an increase in the use of our inland waterways, as alternate methods of transportation.
“Air transportation is the only mode of transportation in Nigeria which benefits from totally independent and internationally accredited accident investigations, conducted through the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB-N)
“Presently, NIMASA and the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) are respectively responsible for regulating and investigating their occurrences (accident/incident). Where agencies act as both regulator and investigator, public confidence will be eroded and the issue of transparency questioned.”
To ensure transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in line with this, the AIB Commissioner emphasized the need to create a unified body which should completely be independent from the transport operators, policy makers, regulators and other parties whose interests may conflict with the tasks which organisation is entrusted with.
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