A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Thursday with the Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON) to improve ground and flight safety in the country.
The Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, said this at NAF Safety Seminar 2022 with theme: “Enhancing Safety in the NAF in Conflict Situations’’ in Lagos.
Magashi represented by Malam Dahiru Muhammad, said that the peculiarities of air operations had placed an additional burden on the NAF to take the lead in safety matters at all three levels of warfare.
According to the minister, the three levels of warfare are the strategic warfare, operational warfare and tactical warfare.
“Military aviation safety is of great concern to us at the Ministry of Defence, particularly because aviation accidents can erode the ministry’s overall war fighting capabilities in many tangible and intangible ways.
“Apart from the loss of expensive platforms, the accompanying irreplaceable losses of well trained and highly skilled personnel often have adverse effects on the nation at large.
“During minor incidents or accidents, injury to personnel and aircraft often lead to loss of valuable manhours, while affected personnel or aircraft are grounded during the period of accident,” Magashi said.
The minister said that aircraft accidents and incidents exerted enormous, moral and economic pressure on the nation.
“Therefore, safety is everybody’s business and all hands must always be on deck to ensure and maintain high safety standards in all environments, be it at home, workplace or theatres of operation.
“This will significantly contribute to the improvement of the well-being and capacity of personnel in their fight against terrorism, insurgency, banditry and other security challenges facing our country.
“I commend the Chief of the Air Staff, officers and airmen/airwomen of the NAF for their unrelenting efforts in ensuring a secure and safe Nigeria,” he said.
Magashi said that the performance of the NAF personnel in the fight against insecurity of our beloved country was very laudable.
“Particularly worthy of commendation is the prompt deployment of your air assets and crew in recent efforts to destroy the enclaves of insurgents and bandits in various parts of the country.
“I assure you that the Federal Government will continue to support the NAF in furtherance of efforts to position the service as a leading air force in Africa.
“With the new, modern and well-equipped platforms that have been acquired, and many more that we are expecting, we are on the right track to attaining this feat,” he said.
The minister said that the successes recorded so far by the NAF and Nigerian Armed Forces were made possible through the leadership and unwavering support of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Magashi said that Mr President had made that enabling environment possible for the NAF and Nigerian Armed Forces as a whole to display their ingenuity and capabilities.
Also, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, said that past experiences had revealed that non-compliance with basic aviation safety rules and aviation often led to dire consequences.
“Failure to strictly follow established standard safety procedures or to review and operate them regularly, especially after an incident, can result in avoidable tragedy.
“This re-emphasises the need for our pilots and grand crew to take extra safety precautions and measures during air and ground operations.
“The theme of the seminar aptly captures the operational context within which we employ our safety management system,” he said.
Amao said that the NAF had brought empowered capabilities to bear on insurgent and criminal elements thus, denying them their hitherto safe heavens and freedom of action.
“This is made possible by sustained intense rate of effort of our capable staff, who work day and night to ensure optimum aircraft accessibility and availability for conduct of operations,” he said.
The CAS said that in accomplishing their mandate, there were inherent risks which must proactively be mitigated in order not to jeopardise operational effectiveness.
“There is a direct correlation between safety and operational efficiency which makes it an imperative for us to give it all the attention it deserves.
“It is in realisation of thy that the NAF has made safety central to its operational and non-operational activities,” Amao said.
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