Dana plane crash site
The National Assembly yesterday called the bluff of the federal government and proceeded with the probe of the June 3 Dana plane crash which claimed the lives of all the 153 passengers on board and six people on ground.
At the opening of the advertised joint probe by the two chambers of the National Assembly, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah had requested for the postponement of the public hearing until after the conclusion of investigation into the crash by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), saying this will also allow the families to complete the painful process of DNA matching identification and burial of their loved ones.
She said, “This is a painful period in our country and continued public speculation in the form of a public hearing before the official accident investigation is concluded is capable of inflaming emotions, distracting the on-going accident investigation process and further eroding the confidence of the Nigerian flying public in the safety of the country’s aviation industry”.
But earlier while declaring the public hearing open, the Senate President, Senator David Mark had said the probe by the National Assembly is in the first instance at the behest of the executive, which requested that the sitting of both chambers be combined in order to save cost.
He urged those who will appear before the joint investigative committee to try and avoid emotion as much as possible.
Mark said, “The joint hearing is at the instance of the executive, ordinarily, both houses would sit separately. We are of the opinion that it would save time and we would not be inviting the same people because of emotion involved in this particular public hearing.
“May I urged all those who will come here to speak to our joint
committee to do so totally devoid of emotions and sentiments because it is the fact we want to get. I know it would be extremely difficult for people to speak without being emotional but we implore you to please, try and avoid that. May I also advise that you avoid speculations and hear says, if you don’t have the fact, there would be no need for you to make presentations. There are lots of hearsay and people making statements they are not sure of”.
Mark said although some aspects of the investigations are technical but the committee is not in the position to address those aspects.
He said for instance, the committee is not in a position relating the black box or any technical details.
“Those who expressed fears that the actions of the committee would take time distant time is simply not correct. There are clear administrative issues and standing administrative procedures and the essence of all these is to make sure that our air space is safe. The technical aspect is done by AIB and other professionals.”
There are areas where we believe that this joint committee can look into. For instance, what was the response time, what is the channel of communication if the aircraft is down, what are the standing operational procedures if there are accidents what is the rescue procedure? If you watch the television, all kind of characters were at the scene. so, these are the areas this committee can look into and the essence is to see if there is anything that need to the done to make sure the procedure is standard and in an event that this occur any other time, things would be done properly”, he said.
The Chairman of the joint Committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma while reacting to the request of the minister also said the National Assembly will proceed with the probe because it was as a result of the resolutions of both chambers.
He acknowledged the request of the minister for the postponement of the probe but said it will not in any way prejudice the outcome of the report of the AIB.