The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has declared that it has enough technical personnel in the Bureau to handle investigations of incidents and accidents in the aviation industry.
The Head of Public Affairs, AIB, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, made the declaration in an interview with Journalists at the bureau headquarters at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.
The spokesman stated that the agency was ready to investigate any incident or accident in the sector, adding that AIB had always carried out its investigative duties with high professionalism.
Oketunbi’s comment is coming on the heels of insinuations in some quarters that the agency had only five technical staff for incidents and accidents investigations.
Recalled that former Aviation Minister, Chief Osita Chidoka had disclosed that AIB had 66 staff; made up of 32 technical staff, which represented 48.5 per cent while the non-technical were 34, representing 51.5 per cent.
He stated that apart from the personnel the management inherited from the former Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIPB) in 2007, it had also trained several other personnel in various aviation institutions across the world to meet the current challenges in the sector.
He disclosed that the new staff recruited to boost the technical department and meet its succession plan, were currently on training at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, adding that recruitment of staff was a continuous exercise in the agency.
The AIB as presently constituted, Oketunbi explained, has about 14 technical staff, both contract and regular staff, who according to him were enough for the sector at the moment.
He further explained that both regular and contract staff were full time workers of the agency producing accident reports that had been receiving commendation from within and outside the country over the years.
He assured that AIB would continue to discharge its duties with utmost professionalism it deserves.
According to him, “AIB at inception in 2007 inherited from AIPB few staff, majority of who were without aviation background. To bridge the gap, experienced aviation experts, including pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers and weather specialists were quickly recruited while the staff without aviation background was sent to NCAT, Zaria for sound professional training.”
He continued, “All technical staff were thereafter, sent to Cranfield University in United Kingdom to be trained as professional accident investigators putting them on same footing with their counterparts in other parts of the world. The ‘five regular technical staff’ has since been receiving several trainings that can position them to be Accident Investigator In Charge, IIC.”
Speaking further, Oketunbi said, “The new staff recruited to boost the technical department and meet our succession plan, have been put on training at NCAT, Zaria. This is a medium/long term plan. Recruiting staff is a continuous exercise in AIB. The bureau may further recruit certain categories of experienced aviation professionals to further boost the technical department and prepare us for the future exit of the contract staff.”