US embassy cable - 02ABUJA1430

NIGERIA: MINISTER OF AVIATION REQUESTS U.S. ASSISTANCE TO INVESTIGATE EAS AIRLINE CRASH

Identifier: 02ABUJA1430
Wikileaks: View 02ABUJA1430 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2002-05-09 10:11:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: EAIR PREL NI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 001430 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12958: 
TAGS: EAIR, PREL, NI 
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: MINISTER OF AVIATION REQUESTS U.S. 
ASSISTANCE TO INVESTIGATE EAS AIRLINE CRASH 
 
 
1.(u) Ambassador received an urgent call from the Nigerian 
Minister of Aviation Kemi Chikwe with an appeal for 
assistance in investigating the Saturday, May 4 crash of 
the EAS BAC1-11-500 aircraft in Kano. The EAS aircraft 
crashed almost immediately after takeoff, killing all 79 
passengers and crew on board and approximately 30 people on 
the ground (SEPTEL). 
 
 
2. (u) Chikwe requested an aviation expert in airworthiness 
and an investigator for the crash site, which is spread 
over several kilometers in a residential section of the 
city of Kano. 
 
 
3. (u) The Minister said that a Special Panel to 
investigate the crash was being set up.  Chief Justice of 
the Supreme Court Muhammad Uwais will head the Special 
Panel.  The Panel will begin meeting next week and hopes to 
complete its work in three or four weeks. 
 
 
4. (u) In addition to investigating the cause of the EAS 
crash, Chikwe said that the Panel will also investigate the 
sourcing of aircraft by domestic carriers as well as their 
places of maintenance.  Chikwe also asked for assistance in 
identifying better sources for aircraft and maintenance. 
She said there are safety concerns about present sources 
for both aircraft procurement and maintenance, which are 
mainly British, American and Eastern European.  (Note: 
There are also several airlines that use former Yugoslav 
commercial aircraft. End Note.) 
 
 
5. (u) Comment: We would like to be responsive. If nothing 
more, American experts can perhaps help the GON better 
define its terms of reference and scope of work on what 
appears, at first glance, to be an enormous and very 
complex undertaking. 
 
 
6. (u) Chikwe's request, which was not unexpected, would 
seem to fall squarely within our "safe skies" initiative. 
The EAS aircraft was British manufacture, and we would be 
surprised if Chikwe also has not approached the British for 
assistance (we will endeavor to find out). 
 
 
7. (u) We have long maintained that  most domestic 
commercial airlines in Nigeria are unsafe. A thorough 
investigation into aircraft procurement and maintenance 
practices is long overdue. 
JETER 

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