1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Incessant air mishaps have paved way for concern over air safety. These mishaps in turn, have been aggravated by poor airport safety and security. To maintain a reputable safety culture, proper crew selection and training must be guaranteed. Ofojebe (2007:15) explains that the ultimate success or failure of an organization is attributed to the efforts of all the organization clearly depends on the collective performance of its individual administrators. Ude (1990:44) states clearly that most of the problems confronting organizations in Nigeria are management related.
A statistics released by Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in February 2006 showed that, with respect to international passenger movement, a total of 114,950 was recorded for passengers coming into the country from the West Africa sub-region and other parts of Africa as opposed to 245, 200 recorded in the previous year. Mail movement at the airport also experienced a sharp drop-in patronage. At the Murtala Muhammed airport Lagos, mail tonnage dropped by 308.116kg within six months. (September, 2005 to February, 2006). At the Aminu Kano International Airport, cargo movement dropped from 17,828,621 to 15,246,173 within 6 months.
Internal Reports available show that the Nigerian aviation sector is poorly rated in terms of safety. This is attributed to the very many air tragedies that occurred in the country’s airspace. For example, in December 2005, a damning report of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States of America (USA) revealed faults in 16 Nigerian Aircrafts. The report, which led to the grounding of the Boeing 737 (100, 200 and 200C series) aircraft, alleged faults in the model. In his work, Oladede (2006:2) argues that Nigeria has not been a reference in the air transport industry in Africa”.
Annan (2006:2) expressed bitterly what many in the international circles called “frustration” on the part of international agencies and companies whose staff and agencies use Nigerian airlines. According to him, “the series of crashes and attendant devastating losses call for a critical review of the aviation sector”. Reacting to the incessant crashes, Onyekakeyah (2005:65) regrets that in the aviation sector, we are reaping sorrow and anguish by the waste of precious lives through air disasters.
Chikwe (2005:25) emphasizes that most of the aircraft on the fleet of private airlines were manufactured in 1968, while just a few were manufactured in 1976, used by the countries which produce them, and phased out after their stipulated life span. Moreover, the Western and American countries have since legislated against the flying of old aircraft Ore (2006:12) maintains that the nation’s airports are in a progressive state of decay, signposted by either outdated, or inadequate facilities, and inept management. Reacting to the ADC air crash of 2006, which claimed the lives of all 116 passengers on board, Akintola (2006:1) points out that the Nigerian aviation industry needs urgent overhaul.
Sequel to the chain of air crashes which occurred between 2005 and 2006 – (The Bellview Airline in which 117 persons lost their lives in 2005; Sosoliso Airlines in December 2005, involving loss of lives to the tune of 108 persons, including 60 secondary school students; Two ADC – owned Boeing 737 aircrafts which claimed the lives of 117 and 96 persons respectively), the managing director of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Captain Iyayi revealed that there are just two serviceable radar in the country, and that the others are obsolete (installed in the 70’s). Reacting to the ADC air crash of Oct. 2006, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, told a foreign medium in Sokoto (Nov. 2006) that the condition of the ADC plane was “deplorable”, with “bad tyres”
After the Bellview crash of October 22nd 2005, the National Emergency Control Agency (NEMA) was unable to decode the exact location of the plane. It is unfortunate that most airlines still use the old model radio signal technically termed Beacon 121.5 rather than the modern Beacon 406.
As regards the Agency’s inability to read any signal from the Bellview airline, Fagbemi (2005:68) asserts that it was as a result of the old model radio signal which just could not be read by the facilities of the National Emergency Management Agency. According to him, the beacon might have busted before the aircraft crashed.