Stakeholders in the aviation sector have expressed grave concern over a recent spate of air mishaps involving a military aircraft.
Speaking in separate interviews with The Tide source in Lagos yesterday, the aviation players expressed the belief that the Air Force should properly investigate the Beechcraft King Air planes on its fleet in order to prevent further crashes.
Former Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi advised the government to call for foreign experts to look into the safety, maintenance and other areas of the Airforce plane with a view to find out the root course.
Sanusi, who is also the former managing director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), spoke on the need to take a holistic review of the entire operation of the Air Force, with a view to ascertaining if there are specific problems that need to be addressed.
He said that all over the world, aviation has relied on Military Airforce for direct safety standard to adopt.
According to him, Airforce aircraft is reliable and efficient.
“I think we need to look at the operations of the Nigerian Air Force to see whether there are specific problems that need to be looked into.
“We have to look at the machines, maintenance and technical capability,’’ he said.
Asked whether the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority should be involved in the investigation, Sanusi said that there was nothing wrong as far as it would help in boosting the safety of military operations.
Speaking on the grounding of aircraft, he said that both the operators and the regulator can ground airlines.
He said that operators have the responsibility to ensure they operate in a very safe environment.
He said that the regulator also has the responsibility of ensuring the operators operate in a safe manner and also following laid down operating procedures.
Still, on grounding commercial aircraft, stakeholders identified airworthiness and overdue routine maintenance A, B, C, D checks as key factors part of key factors that could lead to the grounding of aircraft.
The A, B, C and D checks are the aircraft maintenance schedule and programmes that help to coordinate various inspection and overhaul activities of aircraft.
‘A’ and ‘B’ checks are lighter checks, while ‘C’ and ‘D’ are considered heavier checks.
Aircraft operators may perform some work at their own facilities, but often checks, and especially the heavier checks, take place at the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) company sites.
After a designated number of flight hours and pressurisation cycles, each aircraft must undergo a comprehensive check at a maintenance and engineering base.
Some commercial airlines operating in the country recently had their planes grounded.
The affected are the First Nation, Chanchagi, Sosoliso, ADC, IRS, Cargo Air and Bellview airlines.
President, Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Dr Gbenga Olowu, told The Tide source that non-compliance with details of those maintenance checks carried out and documented could lead to the grounding of the airlines.
Olowu, however, said that many other factors could be responsible for the grounding of an airline.
He added that grounding a plane could also be due to human errors, technical fault or inadequate maintenance.
According to him, there are authorised MROs and licensed parts suppliers who supply tagged parts.
“Caution must be taken, however, not to patronise sellers of bogus parts untagged,’’ he said.
He said that security issues were delicate to handle but frequent that Air force crash in one single year could be due to poor oversight functions by its supervising authority.
The ARSTI president said that paucity of funds for routine maintenance, training and retraining of personnel or outright sabotage could also be responsible.
An aviation expert, Capt. Dele Ore, said that operators are by themselves supposed to ground their commercial aircraft if they failed to meet all aviation standard.
FG Sets Up To Recover Illegally Refined Crude Oil
In a bid to block revenue leakages, the Federal Government, yesterday, inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Members of the committee, who took their oath at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Navy, Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF), and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Umar Mohammed, who represented the AGF at the event, said the major mandate of the committee, was “the recovery of illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
According to the SGF, “In line with the policy of the current administration on security and economy, as well as the preservation of the environment from negative hazards.
“The office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with all stakeholders, have put in place a mechanism for effective and efficient management of illegally refined products recovered from dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta.
“This mechanism was agreed by the relevant stakeholders and submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, who considered and approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the purpose of implementing the Mechanism known as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For the Recovery of Illegally Refined Petroleum Products (Crude Oil) in the Dug-Up Pit found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
The SGF said the Federal Ministry of Justice would coordinate the process and the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
“The responsibility of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to detect, report, evacuate, assess and ensure transparent disposal of the product with due consideration to the environment.
“The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall be guided by the SOP, developed for the project.
“The content of the SOP is drawn from the provision of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019.
“It is my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country”, the SGF added.
FRSC Threatens Sanction Against Fleet Operators Over Speed Limit
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will sanction any fleet operator found sabotaging the implementation of the Speed Limit Device.
Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi said this during the 2021 annual safety managers retreat yesterday in Abuja.
The retreat aimed at sensitising safety managers on the implementation of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme to attain best practices in fleet operations.
The theme of the retreat is: “Assessment of Speed Limit Device Implementation in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges”.
Oyeyemi, represented by Deputy Corps Marshal, Motor Vehicle operations, Mr Hyginus Foumsuk, said that the corps would also sanction Speed Limit Device vendors identified for complicity.
The corps marshal expressed concern on the spate of road accidents and needless loss of lives, especially involving fleet operators.
“These, according to many experts investigations, could have been avoided if the concerned safety managers had been responsive in their duties,” he said.
Oyeyemi said that recent findings by the corps have also revealed a low level of compliance on the installation of Speed Limit Device and associated sharp practices among some fleet operators.
He noted that these practices included tampering with Speed Limit Device and connivance with vendors to deceive enforcement operatives.
This, he said, was with compliance certificates without actual installation of the device, calibration above the approved speed limits and others.
According to him, these shall no longer be tolerated as the corps will not hesitate to sanction violators henceforth.
Oyeyemi urged relevant stakeholders to address the decline on the proper vehicle maintenance as well as implementation of the passenger manifest by fleet operators and the drivers’ recruitment policy.
“We all know the essence of the passenger manifest and the significance of its proper implementation. You are therefore urged to take these issues seriously in the interest of safety.
“Passenger manifest is considered pivotal, thus its enforcement should continue along other traffic offences to compel the needed compliance. It is therefore pertinent that strict adherence to the existing policies be sustained,” he said.
“There is need for fleet operators to introduce improved practices to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers in compliance with traffic regulations.
The Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, commended the efforts of the corps on road safety.
Irukera noted that injury and fatality on the road were caused by speed, describing speed as a catalyst, aggravator and mitigator.
He urged motorists to take cognisance look into installing Speed Limit Device to avoid road traffic crashes and save lives and property.
He, however, assured FRSC of the commission’s support to punish violators, saying that excessive speed attracts a penalty.
Sokoto Assembly Approves 2021 Virement Request Of N155m
The Sokoto State House of Assembly yesterday approved Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s request of N155 million virement warrant on some capital projects in 2021 approved budget.
This approval followed the consideration of a letter by the state governor presented at the plenary by the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Achida.
Alhaji Bello Ambarura, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in the assembly, had moved a motion asking the lawmakers to consider the request at its plenary session.
Ambarura said that the request was necessitated by the present administration’s commitment to addressing a number of developmental projects.
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