FG bars aircraft from landing at Lagos helipad

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the aviation industry safety regulator, has barred aircraft from landing on the Lagos-owned helipad on the premises of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.

BRANDINFO investigation revealed that the helipad had not been put to use since it was inaugurated on August 12, 2016 by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

Findings by BRANDINFO revealed that the Federal Government placed a ban on the usage of the helipad owing to safety concerns.

Ambode had at the inauguration said the helipad, which is located opposite the surgical emergency unit, would be a life-saving asset to complement the emergency services in the state.

He added that the facility would be available 24 hours and that it would be operated by specially trained personnel. He noted that the choice of LASUTH was due to its flagship status, offering referral services for other public and private medical institutions in the state.

He said, “This helipad being commissioned today is a life-saving asset and critical complement to the efficient functioning of this unit and other emergency services being rendered by the state. The helipad will also aid the movement of patients from remote areas where health care facilities needed to provide the level of emergency medicine required are not readily available.

“Over the years, we have witnessed emergency situations which require timely movement of victims to appropriate medical facilities. Keeping in mind that every minute matters in securing the lives of people involved in these incidents, the usual movement by road is not the best option in such situations. Helicopters have therefore become an efficient and reliable option which can only be made possible with the availability of helipads within the hospital environment.”

But over two years after its inauguration, the helipad has yet to be used, owing to what the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority described as safety reasons.

The General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, told one of our correspondents that the reason for the ban had been communicated to the authorities of the hospital but that there had been no response from them.

He said, “The true position is that there are unresolved safety issues pertaining to it. These were communicated to them and there was no response. This is why the facility was not cleared to be put to use.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Prof Adetokunbo Fabanwo, told one of our correspondents in an interview that the helipad might not have been used if there had been no need for it.

When informed of the position of the NCAA on the issue, Fabanwo, who was appointed in January 2019, said even though he had heard of such before, he could not substantiate it.

He added, “I heard something like that; that the concerned aviation authority raised concern about the usage of the helipad but I don’t have the details. However, what we want to do is to take the matter up so we can find a resolution to it.”
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