There are indications that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) can no longer support aerial emergency response following the grounding of the agency’s Search and Rescue (SAR) air unit.
The chopper and plane launched in 2015 were meant to deliver emergency healthcare and quick transportation of patients.
NEMA air operation unit is under the management of a foreigner, Mr Alex Elk Van, employed by Director General, Engr Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja.
NEMA insiders insist that the employment was against Public Service rules and regulations and in violation of Executive Order 003 recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was gathered that the 12-passenger aircraft, marked 5N−EMS, last flown on June 7, 2017 is now in need of corrosion check, bench check, landing gear repair and total overhaul, while the NEMA marked NEMA 5N−NEM also require refit.
A top official at the presidency confided in PRNigeria that families of late Maitama Sule and former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme, approached the agency to fly the elder statesmen abroad whey they were very ill but were turned down due to expired Air worthiness certificate and insurance of the plane.
“The aircraft were in very good condition before the emergence of Engr Maihaja as the new helmsman in 2017. They were deployed for medical evacuation, rescue and security operations; regularly flown to the agency’s headquarters and the trauma centre at the National Hospital,” said the official.
“The Nigerian Pilot who headed the airwing department, Captain Ibrahim Mamman-Ali was suspended with other directors in the agency by Maihaja in clear disobedience to National Assembly resolutions which recalled them.
“Captain Mamman-Ali ensured that the two aircraft were in perfect condition with all procedures moving smoothly including remittance of revenue generated through commercial operations into NEMA Treasury Single Account (TSA),” he added.
The aircrafts, used to airlift wounded Nigerians, including injured officers when Maiduguri airport were closed after Boko Haram attacks, is currently parked outside the hanger of Nigeria Police Air Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
It costs between N140 million and N150 million to renew the insurance for the air ambulance and the helicopters since they were purchased brand new.
In line with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Standards and Procedures, aircraft must be serviceable and must undergo a periodic maintenance and test flight carried out before procedure of renewal of certificate of airworthiness can commence.
Source: Daily Post