A TOTAL number of 2,038 lives were lost to air crashes in Nigeria between 1969 and 2022, according to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).
AIB Commissioner Akin Olateru disclosed this on Sunday while addressing families of air crash victims at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
He explained that 1,996 passengers were lost on board, while 42 others died on the ground.
Olateru said measures initiated by the Bureau, such as investigations and safety recommendations, voluntary safety reporting, safety cultures, and safety management systems, have led to a significant decrease in the number of air crashes in the country.
He blamed poor safety management culture for accidents in the aviation sector.
“Poor safety management in aviation not only damages the aircraft involved, but can also cause the avoidable loss of human lives on-board the unfortunate aircraft and, sometimes, on ground.”
However, the commissioner noted that air transportation remained the safest and quickest mode of transportation in the world.
He listed the many benefits of air transportation in various fields, including business, tourism, medicine and even the military.
Olateru restated the support of the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Aviation and the Bureau, for victims of air incidents and their families.
At the event, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Musa Nuhu said the regulatory agency would re-open investigations into the air accidents involving Bellview and Sosoliso airlines.
The families of the victims of the two air crashes are reportedly yet to be fully compensated over 16 years after the crashes.
Air crashes have been recorded in Nigeria in recent times, including the one involving a Bell 206-B3 helicopter belonging to Quorum Aviation, which crashed into a residential apartment located at No. 16, Salvation Road, Lagos, in August 2020.
The chopper was two minutes away from landing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja.
In January 2022, the Nigerian police denied reports that six of its officers were injured in a helicopter crash that occurred at Bauchi airport.
The police’s denial came after the AIB had reported that the accident occurred on January 26, around 7:30 pm (local time). The AIB announced the accident in a statement released by its General Manager for Public Affairs Tunji Oketunbi.
The flight was bound for Bauchi from Abuja but no death was recorded.