Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) was the cynosure of all eyes at the Nigeria Aviation (NIGAV) awards held in Lagos over the weekend when it carted home three recognitions, thereby becoming the organisation with most honours.
Also, Engr. Akin Olateru, the Commissioner, AIB made history by becoming the first Chief Executive Officer (CE0) to be rewarded with Aviation CEO of the Year 2018, while Mr Tunji Oketunbi, the General Manager, Public Affairs was awarded Public Relations Officer of the Year 2018. The bureau was also named as the Aviation Agency (Operational Efficiency) of the Year 2018.
Apart from AIB, 37 other organisations and individuals including Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Communications of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), who received an award as the Strategic Communication Team Leader of the Year 2018, while the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), which received an award as the Best Facilitation Aviation Industry of the Year 2018 were also recognised for their exceptional performances within the year.
Speaking to journalists in an interview after receiving the award, Olateru thanked God for the zeal to perform, while also lauding the entire staff of the bureau for displaying high professionalism at all times.
He said that in the past 23 months, AIB had been able to release to the public 21 final accident reports with various safety recommendations, adding that the team had contributed immensely to the improved safety in the system in recent years.
He, however, said that the recognition by the organisers would spur him and his team on to do more for the industry, assuring that AIB would witness lots of improvements in the coming year.
He said: “I thank God for the award and for being the first Aviation CEO to win this particular award. It is a landmark achievement for me as a person. It’s been a tough period. It has not been an easy one, but I thank God for all we have been able to achieve within the period. Something very critical is that you should believe in yourself, be strong and you need to be bold. With God on your side, you will achieve.
“We will take AIB to a much higher level in 2019. One thing I promised when I came onboard in January 2017 was that I will make AIB the envy of others in the sector. With the help of God, we have reached that stage. We have done a lot of infrastructural development, equipment and human capital. Every investigator that was employed in 2013, but not trained, has been trained. It is not just about investigators alone, we are training everyone across board.
“By next year, we are reviewing our regulations. It is on-going, we have concluded; written to the airlines and other stakeholders and then we will get all that done by next year. So, a lot is coming onboard in 2019.”
He also commended Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of State for Aviation and the House and Senate Committees on Aviation for the supports received within the year