As part of plans to reduce capital flight, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Kaduna State, has announced its plans to procure and install automatic firefighter simulator equipment in the college before the end of the year.
Captain Abdulsalami Mohammed, Rector of the College, disclosed this in an interview with journalists on Wednesday in Zaria.
Muhanmed lamented that despite the huge number of firemen in the employment of government at all levels, no organisation had simulator equipment for training and retraining of technical personnel.
He said an automatic fire simulator is currently being built in the United Kingdom to be housed at the college.
He said the country's firemen are regularly trained in Cameroon, stressing that this has contributed in no small measures to capital flight. He, however, expressed hopes that the new Boeing 737GN simulator to be acquired by the college would be installed this year as all the requirements set to install it have been approved.
He detailed improvements at the school and also noted that the school currently has eight serviceable aircraft with approval from government to acquire 20 diamond aircraft for training.
“We have another simulator that is being installed in Zaria for this year. The simulator is for firemen. It is automatic fire simulator. As you may be aware, we have never had fire simulator in Nigeria in spite of the number of firemen that we have in this country. All these years, we have been sending our firemen to Cameroon for training. So, this administration felt it is more economical for us to have our own simulator here in Nigeria and this decision was taken to house it here because we have the land. The simulator is being built in the United Kingdom.
“As you know, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has gotten firemen in every airport and you can imagine the number of firemen that require training and retraining. We also expect people from the Federal Fire Service to make use of this simulator. We also intend to incorporate some of our cabin crew training into the use of this simulator because you can simulate cabin fire, cabin smoke, lavatory smoke and the likes with this equipment. So, it is very ideal for us to have it here in Zaria."
On the Boeing 737NG simulator, Abdulsalami confirmed that the equipment would be installed in Zaria. He, however, said delivery of the simulator B737 equipment was delayed because of the change in policy by the government.
He explained: “The contract was for acquisition and installation of Boeing 737GN simulator. So, we looked at our existing facilities if they were adequate to house the simulator, but the simulator manufacturer after seeing the dimension, said the building was inadequate. So, we have to now start the process from scratch; we had to get consultants, get the plan approved by the manufacturer before we could go forward.
"We had to go to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the contract to be awarded. It was only last year that we got FEC approval for the building. We have awarded the contract and it is our belief that the building would be completed and the simulator would be installed this year. The simulator has been constructed, but it is there waiting for shipment; it is too big to enter a container. So, when they bring it in the counter, they won’t be able to cover it. So, if they bring it in and the building is not ready, it would be exposed to the elements and that is why the manufacturer advised us not to expose it until the building is ready."