The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has stated that the actions or inactions of all Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel will help to either propel or break the accident chain sometimes experienced in the course of NAF activities or operations. He also called for the emplacement of appropriate actions to break the accident chain so as to enshrine a good safety culture that transcends all levels in the NAF. He made this known earlier today, 2 July 2024, as he chaired the 2024 NAF Safety Review Board (SRB) meeting held at NAF Headquarters, Abuja. According to the CAS, “As members of the Safety Review Board, it is vital that we thoroughly examine all the safety issues arising from this meeting and come up with objective and innovative ideas that would enhance safety in the NAF. While we all know that safety is a collective responsibility, this Board is primarily accountable for safety administration in the NAF.” While noting that accidents are the results of a sequence of events, beginning with deliberate decisions taken, he also stated that the NAF cannot afford to pay lip service to issues relating to safety and called for determination of all personnel to improve safety in the various areas units. 

Speaking on the importance of the meeting, Air Marshal Abubakar stated that the NAF regards safety as one of its core functions and is committed to developing, implementing, and reviewing policies to ensure that all activities are conducted in a safe and conducive environment. He then assured that the NAF will intensify efforts to enhance safety in the NAF as it continues its transformation into, “an agile and resilient force that effectively meets the airpower demands of national security in all operational environments”. The CAS also stated that more interesting and auspicious days lie ahead for the NAF in view of the Government’s commitment to equipping the NAF with modern platforms. The need for a proactive and enhanced safety culture, he continued, is thus critical in ensuring that their usage are maximized.

Earlier, the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal Micheal Onyebashi revealed that the SRB is the apex body of the NAF Safety Management Structure, designed as a biannual meeting that deliberates on major policy, resource allocation and regulatory issues relating to safety. He went on to state that the Board is required to give direction and guidelines that would ensure the entrenchment of a healthy safety culture in the NAF. He then noted that the NAF has since commenced the introduction of safety education at all NAF entry points and training institutions as directed in the last SRB, as well as leveraging the online learning infrastructure at the Air Warfare Centre, Abuja, to sustain an appreciable level of safety education across the NAF. Speaking further, he noted that with the reactivation of NAF platforms as well as the induction of additional platforms, the need for the SRB, commands and units to work assiduously to ensure that safety standards are maintained in all NAF activities is imperative. He then reminded the Board of its responsibility to proffer strategies and ideas that would enable the NAF to experience continuous improvement of safety in all its operations.

While delivering his paper at the meeting titled, ‘Senior Managers’ Role in Organizational Safety Management System’, Dr Iteke Ifeanyichukwu Chukwunonso of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, stated that managing safety entails managing risks and reactively, proactively and predictively controlling risks to an acceptable level. He also noted that safety management should have a business-like approach and be woven into the fabrics of an organization until it becomes a part of their culture. While commending the NAF for its exceptional safety standards, he called on its leadership to continue to retain the responsibility and accountability for safety. Engr Chukwunonso also emphasized the need for NAF leadership to promote open reporting through non-punitive disciplinary policies while encouraging incentives for promoting safety. In closing, Engr Chukwunonso noted that senior management remains the core for safety management in any organization. 


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