* Seek proactive measures to mitigate against air mishaps nationwide
* Raise concern on complicity between airline operators, regulatory bodies
* Stop NNPC’s $1.8bn expenditure on 4 refineries TAM
The House of Representatives, on Thursday, endorsed a holistic probe of the nation’s aviation sector to ascertain the technical and operational status of all registered private and public aircrafts in the country.
In ordering the probe, the House said that the exercise will enable the country to establish the technical and operational status of all registered commercial and private aircrafts flying the nation’s airspace.
The investigation is consequent upon the adoption of the motion sponsored by Hon Abubakar Kannike, calling for action by the House to boost the safety, protection and confidence of passengers flying Nigeria’s airspace.
Moving the motion, Hon. Kannike said that compliance to safety standards in the aviation sector is sacrosanct, given its sensitivity as well as extremely low tolerance for margins of error.
He said aviation safety measures are proactive to mitigate against air mishaps as well as to enhance smooth operations and comfort of passengers.
He said, “Recently, incidents in the aviation sub-sector are indicative that a holistic review and assessment of the level of compliance and adherence to safety standards are pertinent.
“Ideally, there must be periodic aircraft maintenance which includes overhaul, repair, inspection or modification of an aircraft or aircraft component and maintenance which incorporates such tasks as ensuring compliance with air worthiness directives.”
According to him, there exists a high degree of suspicion and complicity between airline operators and the nation’s air regulatory agencies charged with the safety of the airspace and passengers that have resulted in safety standards in the aviation sector being compromised.
Therefore, he added that the non-compliance to applicable airworthiness requirements exposes consumers and equipment to high level risks, potential dangers and discomfort, which can easily be averted by carrying out appropriate due diligence periodically.
In the resolution, the House mandated its committee on aviation and commerce to investigate and as well carry out a critical audit of all registered aircraft with a view to ascertaining their airworthiness and compliance to applicable operational methods.
The two committees will also probe compliance to set safety standards and procedures as well as evaluate the operational environment of the aviation sub-sector with a view to enhancing improved operational standards and convenience of users.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the nation’s four refineries has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to stop the proposed $1.8 billion expenditure it plans to expend on the refineries.
Chairman of the House ad hoc committee, Hon Garba Datti Muhammad, disclosed this on Thursday, while briefing journalists on the preliminary work the committee has done in carrying out the assignment.
Hon Garba informed journalists that when the committee learnt of plans by the NNPC management to expend $1.8 billion on the TAM of the four refineries, the House committee immediately communicated the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, to stay action on the maintenance plan.
This, he said, is to enable the committee carry out its investigation to ascertain the viability of continuing investments of public funds in the four refineries and the allocation of 445,000bpd crude utilisation for the same purpose.
He added that the investigation will also involve the determination of the current utilisation level of Warri, Kaduna and Port-Harcourt refineries, including carrying out a comprehensive study on the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) carried out to date on the refineries.
Similarly, the ad hoc committee is to identify the private and corporate individuals that have refused to utilise the licences for the building of regular and modular refineries, the readiness and status of all current holders and report back to the House for further legislative action.
He said further that “in the course of our investigation, we will find an amicable way of resolving the epileptic operations of the four refineries in the country.”
Answering questions as to the time frame given to the committee to conclude its investigation, Hon Datti said that “the timeframe is three months bearing in mind that it’s a sensitive investigation that requires time.”
On the incessant fuel scarcity in Nigeria, the former deputy minority whip in the 7th Assembly said that “despite the quantity of crude allocated to the four refineries, we still import finished products.
“Nigeria remains the only country that is a member of OPEC that imports fuel when it’s an oil producing country.”