Dana plane crash site
By Linda Eroke
Labour leaders have called on the Federal Government to urgently overhaul the aviation industry and review the licences of all airlines operating in the country in order to check their airworthiness.
Reacting to last Sunday’s Dana Air crash that claimed the lives of 153 passengers, the labour leaders called on government to put in place a policy pegging the age of aircrafts operating in Nigerian airspace.
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Abdulwaheed Omar, who called for the complete overhaul of the aviation industry, noted that the crash could have been averted if the appropriate regulatory agencies were effective in their responsibilities.
According to him, the safety of all air travellers should be paramount to the regulatory agencies and the airline operators whom, he said that have placed their priority only on profit and not safety.
Omar specifically urged government to do a thorough, transparent and far reaching investigation into what led to the crash.
“On behalf of Nigerian workers, we condole with the families and friends of all those who lost their lives in the air crash involving Dana Airline last Sunday in Lagos. From reports, it is apparent that the crash could have been averted if the appropriate regulatory agencies were effective in their responsibilities. The airplane involved was alleged to have been faulty and this is said to have been to the knowledge of the management of the airline.
“We urge the Federal Government to urgently overhaul the aviation industry, review the licenses of all airlines operating in Nigeria, including foreign airlines, conduct proper checks on the airworthiness of all the aircrafts before renewing the licenses of all the airlines.
“We believe the government should not wait for a repeat of this monumental disaster to reoccur before taking steps to protect the lives of all categories of air travellers within the Nigerian airspace as it is obvious that no one is excluded from the dangers the air industry obviously portend,” Omar said.
Speaking also, President General, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Peter Esele, said the need for a review of the Aviation Rescue Fund had become highly imperative in view of the huge gap in the country’s disaster management capabilities especially in the area of search and rescue operations.
This, he said, would make funds readily available to operators in the sector to enhance their operational effectiveness and efficiencies; thereby leading to a reduction in the frequency of air disasters in the country.
Esele charged the various aviation agencies in the country to strengthen their capacities to make the airspace safer, also called on government to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the air disaster.
“TUC commiserates with the families that have lost their loved ones in this disaster and ask God to give them the equanimity to bear their losses. This is indeed a multiplication of sorrows for Nigerians at the backdrop of the unrelenting Boko Haram menace in most parts of the north.
“Though the nation’s airspace has been relatively free of these disasters for a while, we want the Aviation regulators to see in this, opportunities to build newer capabilities in the management of our airspace to reduce carnage in our air travels. Fleets must be constantly maintained and upgraded to avoid future disasters of this nature,” Esele stated.