The Senate on Tuesday resolved to summon the Minister of State for Transportation (Aviation), Hadi Sirika, to address the chamber in plenary on the recent near mishaps in Nigeria.
The step followed the adoption of a motion moved by Senator Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos-East) and 14 others, entitled, ‘The Need to Minimise the Possibility of Air Mishaps and Near Fatalities in Nigeria.’
The lawmakers unanimously granted prayers of the motion, including to urge the Minister of State Aviation “to immediately direct all relevant agencies in the aviation industry to immediately conduct a maintenance and airworthiness audit on all commercial aircraft operating within the Nigerian airspace as well as the training of personnel operating within the industry.”
Several senators who spoke on the motion narrated their bad experiences at the airports and during flights, while agreeing that Sirika should address the chamber and not appear before a committee.
Moving the motion, Ashafa said, “The Senate observes that on the 20th of February, 2018, the story of a near fatal incident involving Dana Airline with Number 9J0363 hit the news waves. It was reported that the aircraft overshot the runway upon landing at the Port Harcourt airport on a flight from Abuja. This incident was attributed to the wet surface of the runway.
“The Senate recalls that just a few weeks before the aforestated event, there was also panic on Wednesday, 7th of February, 2018, when the emergency door of an aircraft conveying passengers to Abuja fell, off upon landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
“The Senate is concerned that these recent occurrences might be a sign of a sequence of human errors, caused by the failure of officials and staff of the agencies saddled with the responsibility of guaranteeing safety to carry out their due diligence before issuing clearance for aircraft to operate within the Nigerian airspace.”
Ashafa recalled “with sadness” that Nigeria had experienced a significant number of air catastrophes that cost the lives of hundreds of Nigerians, due to a range of causes including human and technical errors.
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