There has been strong criticism by aviation experts and stakeholders on the decision by the Federal Government to set up the Group Captain John Obakpolo-led panel to probe last Sunday’s Dana plane clash at Iju-Ishaga in Lagos
The Federal Government on Wednesday, through the Minister of Aviation, announced the setting up of a nine-man technical and administrative panel headed by retired Group Captain John Obakpolo to probe the crash. The panel will also take a comprehensive look at the aviation sector with a view to making the country airspace safe. It has six weeks to submit its report.
Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah also said the panel would work simultaneously with the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, and would also do a comprehensive assessment of the schedule of all the domestic airlines.
A former pilot and Air Traffic Controller, Mr. Obi Ogbolu, said though Obakpolo was in the aviation sector, he was not competent to carry out investigation of air crash.
He said: “It is definitely not right. There are specialists who investigate accident all over the world, even in Nigeria. We have such people appointed by the government, there is Accident Investigation Bureau in this country, why do you have to ask Obakpolo to go there when these people are there? If you feel that they cannot do the work alone, you invite a foreigner to join them possibly from FAA or somewhere else.”
Also speaking in the same vain, Captain Mohammed Joji, General Secretary, Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, said it was wrong for the government to have set up a parallel panel.
He noted: “Listen to me, we are strongly objected to that. Is he a trained surveyor? It is an insult to FAA America that gave us CAT One, it is an insult to Mr. President who used CAT One as part of his achievements. What we are telling America is that, they are wrong to have given us CAT One.
“What experience does Obakpolo have. It is an insult to us. They should allow the Commissioner of the Accident Investigation Bureau to investigate the accident with his team.”
Joji further said it was against ICAO recommended practices to set up another investigation panel when the Accident Investigation Bureau is there.
Captain Muhammed Tukur also corroborated the positions of other stakeholders, saying the Accident Investigation Bureau should be allowed to do its job which traditionally it is trained to do and not be distracted by illegal panel that does not have the competence .