The Minister Is to Blame For Air Mishap


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The Minister Is to Blame For Air Mishap




Abdallah Shaibu




October 31, 2006 


The nation has again been thrown into mourning. Just like the previous ones, everyone is seriously grieved and we are all wearing dark looks. Seminars and workshops on prevention of air accidents will be organized. Presidential fora on aviation will also be organized.  But as usual with Nigerians, it is just a matter of days before we shelve it aside and continue as if nothing ever happened. It is only the bereaved that will be left to feel the pain forever. How they cope is not anybody’s headache. The best the government will do is to give media coverage whenever the insurance company is ready to indemnify the next of kin of the deceased.

This particular mishap is not the first under the tenure of Dr Babalola Borisade. It is neither the second nor third either. His regime spells doom for the aviation industry. Just immediately he assumed office, there was the Bellview air crash at Lisa village in Ogun State. I was one of those who went against those calling for his resignation at the time. My reason being that the mess in the industry had long been there before his appointment as Minister of Aviation. At least, he should be allowed to work before being castigated. But sequence of events so far has proved that he does not have what it takes to take the aviation industry out of the woods.
The President has call for an immediate investigation into the proximate cause of the accident. This has been done in all the previous air crashes. Can the President and his Minister tell the nation what he has done with such investigations? Both the President and Aborishade have failed this nation and they don’t have any reason to remain in office for a day longer.
Secondly, suspension of the airline’s license is not the solution to the problem. Like someone said, ‘cutting the braches of a tree will not stop the tree from growing’. We should get to the root of the problem rather than the President playing on our intelligence. They should stop playing politics with our lives. Are the other airlines operating in the country presently better than Slok Air whose license was revoked by the Obasanjo administration?
Consequent upon investigations into the previous accidents, we got to understand that the radars at our airports do not function on weekends. I am not an aviation expert but we were made to understand that such equipment can aid pilots to a great extent thereby reducing the risk of accident. What has Dr Babalola Aborishade done to get the radars working as obtainable in decent societies? What has he done to ensure compliance with all aviation rules and regulations?
Instead of blaming the deceased pilot for his refusal to heed weather advice, the Minister should hide his head in shame and allow the pilot’s soul rest in peace. It is wrong to talk bad of the dead. He is not alive to defend himself and remember that he left some loved ones behind. How would you want his wife and children to feel each time you mention that the pilot’s arrogance led to the death of over one hundred people? After all, pilots confirm that they are at liberty to use there discretion in such circumstance.
We thank God that the flight data recorder otherwise known as the black box has been found; and the Minister has confirmed that it will be sent to the United States for analysis. Is he not supposed to wait for the outcome of the investigation before heaping blames on the pilot? Of what benefit is the investigation if the Minister already knows the cause of the accident? How would the Minister feel if at the end of the investigation the crash is attributed to some other reasons aside from what he is insinuating? Would he have the mind to apologise to the nation for making a hasty conclusion?
The aircraft, we understand, has not done a ‘D check’ for a very long time. This is against aviation rules and it can only happen in an industry presided over by Babalola Borisade. Or is the pilot to blame again for this lack of maintenance? The Minister has not said anything about this in his preliminary investigation.
One particular area that the Minister has not addressed is the story of the eye witness account. The villagers confirmed that they heard three explosions [boom, boom, boom as they put it] and the aircraft exploded before it came down. If the account of the eye witness is anything to go by, can bad weather be responsible for explosions?
Nigeria has lost so much blood to air disasters due to the Minister’s inability to effectively and efficiently manage the aviation industry and the best him for him to do is to throw in the towel. He will save the nation much trouble by heeding the clarion call.


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