The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has says that Nigeria and six other ECOWAS countries will use the $5.8 million Safety Laboratory Equipment belonging to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) in Abuja.
Caj Frostel from ICAO, who is also the Commissioner for Banjul Accord Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA), disclosed this while speaking with newsmen on Sunday in Lagos.
According to him, the BAGAIA member states that would make use of the facility are: the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone.
Frostel said the revitalised equipment would help boost safety not only in the sub-region, but Africa in general.
He said that apart from those countries, other countries on the continent could also make use of the facility, which he described as“ a world class equipment”.
Frostel said: “Much of what we did during the week was that we needed to establish that the equipment works. We have a BAGAIA interest that the AIB facility in Abuja becomes the centre of excellence in reading out flight recorders for all the seven countries.
“With BAGAIA, we have the ambition to cover the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as countries in Central and Southern Africa.
“There is no other flight-recorder-read-out facility elsewhere in the sub-region as you have in Abuja.
“Central and Southern African countries are potentially international customers that we hope to bring in. In the future, we will arrange familiarisation training on how this equipment can be used in other countries.
“The Commissioner of AIB, Mr Akin Olateru, has foresight and initiative. He recently took over AIB and he quickly thought that the Abuja facility should get going. He has the energy and capacity to make it happen.”
Also contributing , Mr Michael Toft, a director in the accident investigation agency in Singapore, stated that the equipment was now in the right shape to download and analyse information from black boxes in case of an accident.
He explained that the same equipment is used in Singapore for data analysis, stressing that AIB’s engineers had been trained on how to handle the equipment for optimal usage.
“When I got here, I discovered that there were lots of commonality in equipment hardware and software. So, the first task in hand was to make an assessment of the laboratory, it was running fine with a nice accommodation.
“It has a good number of equipment and can read a large number of common flight recorder types that are installed on aircraft.
“The laboratory capability is equal if not better than that of Singapore. In terms of training, everything was nicely arranged and I completed my work quickly.
“I trained their investigators on how to manage the equipment, how to read out the data and how to decide the data. I am happy that I was given the opportunity to participate,” Toft said.