Sat, Nov 18, 2006
New Law Sets Standards, Penalties
Olusegun Obasanjo signed a new law defining offenses and setting
penalties for safety violations last Wednesday.
The nation has experienced three deadly aviation crashes in the
last year killing hundreds.
Nigeria's new law also sets a compensation schedule for victims
and limits ministerial power during an emergency. This last is an
effort to boost the regulatory powers of the Nigerian Civil
Aviation Authority -- especially during investigations.
The acting head of the Nigerian Aviation Safety Initiative
Efanga Offiong told the Associated Press, "This is a step in the
right direction, but much more needs to be done. We need
professionals in charge, and not politicians." The initiative is an
industry pressure group pushing for higher safety standards in the
The law was brought under consideration after the second of two
major crashes last year. The legislature has kicked it around since
March, but proponents placed it on the fast track after the latest
crash killed 96 people late last month.
Offiong alleges government interference in those crash
investigations allowed some airlines to skimp on safety
requirements. Political friends of the regime where allowed to keep
their licenses while its enemies' were revoked.
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