President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday approved the appointments of four persons to head some key agencies in Nigeria’s aviation sector.
The approval was made public in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Sabiu Zakari.
The affected agencies are: Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, as well as the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).
Captain Fola C. Akinkuotu, who is a seasoned transport pilot, flight and aircraft maintenance engineer, airline chief executive and a trained aviation industry regulator, has been appointed the Director General of NAMA.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Abuja, and a professor of geography with specialty in Environmental Application of Remote Sensing, Sani Abubakar Mashi, becomes the Director General of NIMET.
According to the statement, Captain Abdulsalam Mohammed is the new Rector at NCAT, while Mr Akinola Olateru is the Commissioner for AIB.
Captain Mohammed is an alumnus of NCAT and a renowned civil aviation trainer and examiner with accreditation by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and the Federal Civil Aviation Administration.
Mr Olateru, on his part, is an engineer of international repute, a trained air accident manager and a certified safety officer with aircraft maintenance engineering licences in Nigeria, USA and the United Kingdom.
An unidentified driver might have lost his life while several property got submerged in flood as a heavy downpour left bitter tales for many residents of Osogbo, the Osun state capital.
The Muslim festival was going well with residents already looking forward to resuming back to their businesses when the holiday suddenly turned sour.
Some residents in areas like Testing Ground, Rasco, Oke-Onitea, Fiwasaye, Gbomi and Iludun in Osogbo have been counting their losses as the rain came down heavily for three hours, causing flood in many parts of the city.
Channels Television visited Oke-Onitea area, where residents were gathered looking at a canal in search of a middle-aged man said to be the driver of a Nissan Primera with registration number – Lagos LSD 683 DZ.
An eyewitness told us that the man insisted on driving through the already overflowing water but was swept off with his car, while the driver was yet to be found at the time of filing this report.
The story was different at Fiwasaye area. Residents were stranded as the bridge required to cross to the other side of the community had been washed off by the rain.
With many houses and stalls submerged by the rain, another eyewitness said that a woman and her daughter had been left stranded in their store because of the rain.
It took the intervention of some youths in the community and the Osun State Fire Service to rescue both the woman and her daughter.
One of the victims, Ifedunmade Ogundijo, who owns a fashion outfit and a salon, said that the rain had caused her about three million naira loss.
According to a report by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Osun state was identified as one of the flood-prone areas and the residents believe that the government should have been proactive to avert this occurrence.
While the residents count their losses, no official statement had been made by the Osun state government at the time of the report.
The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and Ministry of Environment, suggested that building emergency camps would be necessary in order to accommodate victims, should a flood disaster occur.
The Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in conjunction with trainers from the Southeast Zonal National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also conducted a capacity building workshop on Basic Skills in Search and Rescue.
At least 170 persons received training in search and rescue operations as part of the contingency plans for the predicted 2016 flooding.
Nigeria has experienced its fair share of flooding over the years and its attendant consequences. In 2012, Nigeria witnessed what has been described as the most devastating flood in its history.
Since then, the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency has been making public the flood outlook for each year.
It is expected that relevant government agencies and policy makers would be well prepared to respond adequately to the incidence of flood in their area following the release of the outlook.
At least 170 persons have received training in search and rescue operations, as part of the contingency plans for the predicted 2016 flooding.
The capacity building workshop on Basic Skills in Search and Rescue was conducted by the Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in conjunction with trainers from the Southeast Zonal National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
According to SEMA Director, Mr Chukwudi Onyejekwe, who coordinated the workshop on behalf of the Executive Secretary of SEMA, the directive to build community resilience for disaster risk reduction was from the State Governor, Willie Obiano.
He said that it was to ensure that volunteer workers from the 21 local government areas of the state get needed training to ensure there would be enough hands to tackle any unforeseen situation.
The volunteer workers in Otuocha, Anambra East Local Government Area, are also expected to gain knowledge needed to assist the flood prone rural dwellers ahead of the speculated flooding in order that no life will be lost.
In a simulated training at Otuocha, an emergency situation-like mood was activated, with sound of the Ambulance rattling the atmosphere while Emergency Management officials rallied around to assist the supposed victims.
This is part of the training programme organised by SEMA and NEMA.
From the outdoor-dramatised emergency response display to the indoor actual training workshop, the crux of the matter was to train the 170 volunteer workers from the 21 local government areas of the state on community resilience and disaster risk reduction with the use of modern equipment.
The Director of SEMA, Mr Chukwudi Onyejekwe, coordinating on behalf of the SEMA Executive Secretary, said that the training was a paradigm shift in disaster management which had moved from emergency response to disaster risk reduction.
The NEMA trainer, Ifeyinwa Onyia, who also represented the Southeast Zonal Coordinator urged the participants to follow instructions and learn every skill taught them.
The technical session was handled by other NEMA trainers who explain the function of each modern equipment used for search and rescue operation.
The technicalities in the use of the state-of-the-art ambulance was also explained to the participants, as a mobile clinic that sustains a victim before being taken to the hospital.
For one of the participants, Eucharia Attah, the training was a good development, as the use of advanced equipment in disaster risk reduction produce best results in rescue operations.
The idea of bringing rescue operation training to the rural communities is one that will not only help in the event of flooding but one that will also assist in reducing disaster rate in different emergency situation.
The Chairmen of 15 Local Government Areas in Akwa Ibom state have been directed by the state Government to build rescue and emergency camps in anticipation of flooding.
The directive followed an earlier warning by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, on impending floods expected to occur in 11 states including Akwa Ibom.
The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and Ministry of Environment, have suggested that building emergency camps would be necessary in order to accommodate victims, should a flood disaster occur.
In to a statement made by the Agency, the 15 Local councils which were prone to flooding include Oron, Udung-Uko, Mbo, Urue, Offong, Uruko, Ibeno, Eket, Esit, Ikot-Abasi, Mkpat, Enin, among others.
The flooding which has recently been a recurring incident in the 11 flood-prone states across Nigeria, has ravaged a lot of houses, led to some deaths and rendered many homeless in the last couple of months as the rainy season takes over.
The ministry has assured that the State Government is working towards providing relief materials in case of any flood disaster.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Nigeria believes the Federal and State governments are better prepared to avert a humanitarian crisis after recent flood alerts.
The Director General of NEMA, Sani Sidi, expressed hopes of government’s readiness during an emergency humanitarian coordination forum held on Tuesday.
At the forum were different agencies of government and some international agencies and talks focused on contingency plans in response to the flood alert.
Mr Sidi said the early warning provided must be matched with early action.
Some of the devastation left behind by the flood disaster that occurred in 2012 were considered and in a bid to avert recurrence, the forum participants worked on an action plan.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency had issued a flood alert few days ago.
Charting a course for discussions at the meeting, the Director General of the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, Moses Beckley, read out figures his agency had in relation to the flood of 2012.
A presentation was also made on the flood alert, the contingency plan that has been put in place and the role of the different agencies involved.
The Director General of NEMA said a lot of work was being done with the state governments to avert humanitarian crisis.
A few things that have been made clear at the meeting was that time was short, local action was very important and that just cleaning drainages would go a long way to ensure that the coming flood would not lead to humanitarian crisis.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued an alert to pilots and airlines following a forecast from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) that there will be occurrence of moderate to severe outbreaks of dust in the country during the harmattan period from November 2015 till March 2016.
The regulatory agency said the severe outbreaks of dust can reduce atmospheric visibility, impacting negatively on flight operations.
The agency is asking pilots and airlines to ensure that adequate weather information is obtained from NIMET prior to flight operations.
The NCAA also urged pilots to exercise maximum restraint when adverse weather is observed and ensure that flight operations are scheduled with adequate weather information to minimise delay or cancellation of flight operations.
The agency further gave the warning that all concerned must comply strictly with the laid down regulations.
Residents and indigenes of Oguta Local Government Area (LGA) living around flood prone areas have been advised to relocate to upper lands where their lives and property will be adequately secured, pending the time the ravaging flood will reduce.
The passionate appeal was issued on Monday by the Executive Secretary of the Imo State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mrs Uche Ezeonyeasi, who visited the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp set up to house some flood victims in Oguta area.
She handed over to the displaced persons additional relief materials made available by the State government.
The Imo State government, through the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) had earlier provided relief materials to the flood victims.
Mrs Ezeonyeasi, however, noted that since flood was a natural disaster that could not be averted, SEMA had already done several sensitisation for the people of the zone prior to this time.
She disclosed that no lives were lost at the moment, but several homes and farmlands were badly affected.
According to her, the relief materials are to alleviate the sufferings of the flood victims.
The Imo State Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, also visited the flood victims to sympathise with them and also promised them of the State government’s support and care.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had issued an alert that there would be flood in some particular zones in the country of which Imo State was one of them.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), has assured Nigerians that there is no cause for alarm as it steps up surveillance to forestall flood disasters.
The Director-General of NIMET, Dr Anthony Anuforom, said that an alert by the National Security Adviser prompted the speedy establishment of a team of experts from NIMET, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency and the National Emergency Management Agency to scale up operations.
The NIMET Chief noted that although there are warnings of possible flood this year, especially in some northwestern states, the country is more prepared than before to tackle any flood disaster to prevent loss of lives and property.
Residents living around the coastal line in Delta State have been warned to relocate, to avoid being enveloped by the impending flood.
This warning is coming from the Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, who was reacting to the Federal Government flood alert that coastal states would witness flooding as a result of the gradual release of excess water from Lagdo dam in Cameroon.
Mr Otuaro said that the relocation was necessary to avoid recording high level of casualty when the flood sets in, emphasizing that the state was able to evacuate people to internally displaced person’s camps in 2012 because they yielded to the timely warning by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET.
The Deputy Governor expressed worry with the way some people erect structures on waterways and canals, thereby blocking the waters from flowing into its route.
He advised owners of public and private buildings to embark on clearing of their surroundings and gutters as a deliberate effort to promote good health.
The Deputy Governor equally called on traditional rulers and opinion leaders to assist government to enlighten their people about the impending flood and the need to keep their environment clean to avoid outbreak of diseases like malaria and cholera.
He said that government was committed to the fight against environmental degradation and anything capable of exposing the state to environmental hazard.
An aviation expert and the former image maker of the defunct Nigerian Airways, Chris Aligbe, has faulted a plan by the Nigerian government to merge the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and The Nigerian Meteorological Agency, saying it is not the best thing to do.
Mr Aligbe said that each of the agencies proposed to be merged had its specific function under the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
“I was shocked to the marrow when I heard it. the decision is funny,” he said.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the regulatory body for aviation in Nigeria. It became autonomous with the passing into law of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 by the National Assembly and assented to by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Act not only empowers the authority to regulate aviation safety without political interference, but also to carry out oversight functions of airports, airspace, meteorological services as well as economic regulations of the industry.
The NCAA has just faced a re-audit exercises of the CAT 1 rating it obtained in August 2010.
While the NCAA is the apex regulatory body in the country, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is an air navigation service provider with a mandate to manage the Nigerian airspace to a level consistent with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation standard and recommended practices.
The agency is also designed to increase Air Traffic Management (ATM) capacity in order to manage the increasing air traffic volume and simultaneously reduce delays, to enhance service quality and reduce cost for airspace users.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) came into existence by an Act of the National Assembly – NIMET (Establishment) Act 2003, enacted on May 21, 2003, and became effective on June 19, 2003 following presidential assent.
It is a Federal Government agency charged with the responsibility of advising the government on all aspects of meteorology; project, prepare and interpret government policy in the field of meteorology; and to issue weather (and climate) forecasts for the safe operations of aircrafts, ocean going vessels and oil rigs.
The Act also makes it the responsibility of the agency to observe, collate, collect, process and disseminate all meteorological data and information within and outside; co-ordinate research activities among staff, and publish scientific papers in the various branches of meteorology in support of sustainable socio-economic activities in Nigeria.
A report by the Stephen Orosaye-led Presidential Committee on Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals put the three agencies on a merger spot.
Merging all theses agencies, to Mr Aligbe, is not an ideal thing to do. He insisted that the government should seek advice from the aviation industry of other countries before taking such decision that would create problems in the sector.
Consultation of international agencies is the way to go, he said.