Abuja, Nigeria – The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has underscored the critical role that Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel play in either perpetuating or breaking the accident chain during NAF activities or operations.

He called for the implementation of appropriate measures to disrupt this chain and establish a robust safety culture throughout the NAF. This was highlighted during the 2024 NAF Safety Review Board (SRB) meeting, chaired by Air Marshal Abubakar, at the NAF Headquarters in Abuja on July 2, 2024.

“As members of the Safety Review Board, it is vital that we thoroughly examine all 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,” stated Air Marshal Abubakar.

He emphasized that accidents are the result of a sequence of events, often triggered by deliberate decisions. He called for a determined effort from all personnel to improve safety across various units, asserting that the NAF cannot afford to pay lip service to safety concerns.

Air Marshal Abubakar reiterated the NAF’s commitment to safety as one of its core functions. He assured that the NAF would continue to develop, implement, and review policies to ensure a safe and conducive environment for all activities. “The NAF will intensify efforts to enhance safety as it transforms into an agile and resilient force that effectively meets the airpower demands of national security in all operational environments,” he concluded. He also noted that with the government’s commitment to equipping the NAF with modern platforms, a proactive and enhanced safety culture is essential to maximize their use.

Air Vice Marshal Michael Onyebashi, Chief of Standards and Evaluation, highlighted the SRB’s role as the apex body of the NAF Safety Management Structure. The SRB, meeting biannually, deliberates on major policy, resource allocation, and regulatory issues relating to safety. He noted that the NAF has introduced safety education at all entry points and training institutions, leveraging the online learning infrastructure at the Air Warfare Centre, Abuja, to maintain a high level of safety education across the NAF.

Dr. Iteke Ifeanyichukwu Chukwunonso of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority delivered a paper titled ‘Senior Managers’ Role in Organizational Safety Management System’. He emphasized that managing safety involves controlling risks reactively, proactively, and predictively to acceptable levels. He praised the NAF for its exceptional safety standards and urged its leadership to maintain responsibility and accountability for safety. Dr. Chukwunonso also stressed the importance of promoting open reporting through non-punitive disciplinary policies and encouraging incentives for promoting safety.

The meeting underscored the NAF’s ongoing efforts to prioritize safety and implement effective measures to mitigate risks, reflecting its commitment to maintaining operational integrity and protecting its personnel.

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