The Director General, of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Akin Olateru, an aircraft engineer has been honoured with the ‘Integrity and Anti-corruption Ambassador’ award by the Nigerian Youth against Corruption and Transparency Initiative in recognition of the transformation and developmental strides the Bureau has witnessed under his leadership.
Presenting the Award at the Bureau’s Headquarters, in Abuja on Wednesday, Group Coordinator, Abdul Malik Usman, said members of the Group decided to confer the award on the Bureau’s Director General in recognition of his contributions to the development of the nation’s aviation safety through the rapid transformation of the Bureau to emerge as one of the best accident investigating bodies in the world.
“Our Organisation is very proud of the transformation and developmental strides in the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau( NSIB) which cannot be over-emphasised. Your unrelenting dedication to a corruption-free society, and contribution to nation-building, among others, called for appreciation and recognition and to this end, we decided to honour you with this award, he stated.
Receiving the award, Olateru appreciated members of the organisation for recognising his modest contributions to aviation safety through the Investigation of occurrences and timely release of reports along with safety recommendations which he described as the by-product of the investigation usually addressed to industry stakeholders such as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), the affected airlines, Aircraft Manufacturers, among others, to prevent the reoccurrence of the incident.
The Bureau established in 2006 according to him and has done its best under his leadership since 2017 when he became its head in the fulfilment of its mandate to probe into air accidents/incidents and timely release of reports for safer airspace in Nigeria and beyond.
He informed the organisation that the government, in recognition of the roles played by the Bureau, signed into law the NSIB Act 2022for the expansion of its mandate and scope as a multi-modal agency to investigate not just air accidents and incidents, but maritime, and railway and any other modes of transportation across the country.
“And that has put Nigeria at par with countries like the United States of America, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, among others, to have a single agency doing all the investigations, ”he stated.
Explaining further, Olateru said the reason behind this, is to ensure transparency and objectivity in the investigation of occurrences.
“There are three legs to any transportation system. You have the service providers, you have the regulators, and then, the Investigators. During occurrences, sometimes it could be the regulators that might have caused the reason for the occurrence. That is why you can’t be the regulator and the Investigator altogether”.
“Nigeria used to have this arrangement, but the wisdom of government to separate regulatory from investigating responsibilities has not just improved air safety, it has also enabled air transport business to dramatically rise in Nigeria.
“Gone are the days when people hesitated boarding an aircraft” he stressed further, saying in the past people would rather travel by road instead of by aeroplanes for safety considerations.
“Today, this is not so as the conscious efforts that had been put in place by the Bureau in collaboration with other relevant agencies have ensured a safer airspace for the flying public.
“Safety is not achieved by accident. It is not something that just happened at ago. Conscious efforts had gone into it. For safer airspace to have been in place, the regulatory body, the investigating agency and other industry stakeholders must have contributed their bits to the overall safety networks”.
Olateru assured of the Bureau’s continuous prompt response to occurrences and timely release of its reports along with the right safety recommendations to deal with the reason why that particular occurrence happened. This, he said, is the only way the agency can continue to protect the system from reoccurrence.
He noted that the agency under his leadership enhances air safety from the rear which explained his delight in being spotted and honoured with the award.
“We enhance safety from the rear. That is why am so happy that you spotted us. I really want to thank you for this initiative and for giving us the encouragement to do more, “he added.