The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has commenced the re-training of personnel in order to ensure the safety of its crew, as part of efforts to tackle the incessant air mishaps in the Nigerian military.
This followed the recent crashes that claimed the lives of at least 18 military officers, including the late immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru.
Addressing reporters on Saturday, NAF Director of Training, Air Commodore Esen Efanga, explained that the Chief of Air Staff approved the training to enable the crew to be up to speed with global best practices and reduce human factors that cause air crashes.
He said, “We have discovered that in the world, most of accidents and incidents have bee attributed to human factors which the human being is the most critical aspect of the aviation sector.
“We have also discovered that most of the accidents do not have to do with the technical abilities of the crew, but rather the interface between the human-and-human, and the human-and-the-aircraft.”
“Because at this point, we are involved in several operations all over the country, this does not come without risks that we have seen in the air force of recent involving incidents and accidents,” Efanga added.
He disclosed that the training was the first in a series of training that would be carried out in all operational units at various centres all over the country.
The air commodore stated that the crew were trained by very seasoned and experienced resource persons who were certified to impart such knowledge.
“It is the Chief of Air Staff’s intention to establish a culture of safety in the Nigerian Air Force so that while we have increased and enhanced our operations, we take care of this critical aspect of NAF operations,” he said.
On May 21, the nation was thrown into mourning after the death of Lieutenant General Attahiru broke.
Attahiru, who was appointed as the Chief of Army Staff in January, died in a plane crash in Kaduna alongside 10 other personnel of the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force.
The incident was preceded by two other crashes – the first being Beechcraft KingAir B350i which crashed at Bassa village in Abuja while en route to Minna, killing seven NAF personnel in the process.
Personnel on board the plane had reported an engine failure and were on their way back to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport before the aircraft crashed.
About six weeks after the crash, a NAF Alpha Jet aircraft went missing while on an operation in Borno State and was found to have crashed days later.
The aircraft lost contact with radar on March 31 while on an interdiction mission in support of ground troops fighting insurgency in the state.