A Non-Governmental coalition with focus on aviation safety- CIVIL SOCIETY AVIATION COALITION[CSAC] has joined millions of Nigerians to mourn the unfortunate demise in the ill-fated Navy Augusta Helicopter that crashed at Nemb -Okoroba Area of Bayelsa State at the weekend which resulted in the killing of the Governor of Kaduna State Mr. Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan General Andrew Owei Azazi [rtd], an aide to thelate governor of Kaduna state Mr. Dauda Tsoho; the pilots Commander Murtala Mohammed Daba and Lieutenant Adeyemi O. Sowole and a military aide to the late National Security Adviser Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal.
The coalition has also advised the Federal Government and the national assembly to introduce a legal framework which will compel all aircrafts, helicopters in use in Nigeria whether belonging to the military or for civilian use to come under the supervisory and monitoring purview of the Federal Ministry of Aviation so that Nigeria will maintain common national aviation safety standards in compliance with global best practices and to save Nigeria from the embarrassment of incessant helicopter crashes. The group recalled that only last year, the then Deputy Inspector General of Police Mr. John Haruna, in charge of operations was killed in a police helicopter crash in Jos, Plateau state even as there were allegations that the ill-fated police helicopter was not properly maintained and serviced regularly as and when due.
CIVIL SOCIETY AVIATION COALITION [CSAC]which exonerated the Federal Ministry of Aviation of blame in the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate weekend accident stated that since military planes and/or helicopters do not directly fall under the schedules of the officials of the nation’s civilian aviation ministry it was unthinkable to seek to lay the blame for that sad incident involving a Nigerian Navy Helicopter- NAVY AUGUSTA HELICOPTER on the doorsteps of the Federal ministry of Aviation under the supervision of the minister Princess Stellah Oduah.
The body also canvassed the implementation of comprehensive measures to bring the operations of all civilian and military aircrafts under the supervision of the aviation experts that work in the Federal Ministry of Aviation so that the highest maintenance standards and ethical code of conducts as is done in most jurisdiction around the globe because since the Nigeria’s ministry of Aviation can boast of more competent aviation experts it therefore follows that the Federal ministry of Aviation is in a better frame of mind to monitor and ensure that all planes; aircrafts; helicopters whether civilian or for military purposes flying in the airways of the nation are monitored by the qualified and professionally competent officials working n the Nigerian Aviation Authority.
In a statement made available to the media and endorsed jointly by the Executive Secretary Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the national Publicity Secretary Miss. Maimuna Al-Hassan, the coalition which comprises over 18 registered civil society groups stated thus; “We are as deeply shocked as millions of patriots with the very unfortunate helicopter accident involving the Navy Augusta Helicopter which crashed in the creeks of Nembe-Okoroba Area of Bayelsa State killing one of the Nigeria’s development focused governors- Mr. Patrick Yakowa and the immediate past National Security Adviser to the President General Azazi who is vastly respected for achieving several milestones in his chosen profession. Sad as we are with this unfortunate development, we also want to use this mourning period to urge President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to consider ways and means of introducing workable legal framework to make it compulsory that all aircrafts including military helicopters are monitored to ensure the highest standards of maintenance and safety to fly on Nigerian airways by the nation’s Aviation authority in the Federal Ministry of Aviation. Under the current dispensation military and police helicopters are not monitored and/or maintained by the Federal ministry of Aviation and so it is impossible to expect officials of the Federal ministry of Aviation to determine the safety status of any of these military helicopters.”