Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
Four years after the Dana plane which departed Abuja crashed in Lagos, families of the 153 victims, wednesday demanded the immediate release of the final report of the accident investigation by government.
Addressing a cross section of the media in Abuja, the leader of families of victims of the crash, Mr. Paul Okwulehie, who lost his wife and two other relatives also demanded a prompt and complete payment of compensation to the families of victims.
Mr. Okechukwu Obi, who also lost the wife, Chinwe Obi, a staff of the National Universities Commission (NUC), said, it had been tales of sad and bitter experience from Dana’s lawyers since the demise of his wife in that crash.
Obi said: “I have gone through so many demands with my lawyer on documents I have to present to them. I have been doing that since 2012.
“The last request they made from me was that the lawyers of the Dana Airline are requesting for tax clearance certificate from a civil servant, which is not an issue to civil servants except business people.
“The other nagging issue is they the said I should bring bank statements for the past three years from the period of her death. Though, I told them that was not possible but we have written to the bank and they have agreed to issue me that.”
So far, Obi confirmed that only 30 per cent of the compensation had been paid, while he is still in a fix about the remaining 70 per cent. “I do not know what the position is. It is a case between our lawyer and the Dana Airline lawyers.” he said.
Corroborating Obi, Okwulehie said many others were experiencing hell, unnecessary demands and time wasting, from the management of Dana airline.
He said: “Some of them (families of victims) are not speaking about what they pass through because the whole issue of compensation is adding insult to injury, an injury that is so deep. What you have heard reflects the case in nearly all the situations.
“The issue of compensation for nearly all of them that are not here has been a very frustrating experience. They are asking for tax clearances, bank statements and all kinds of multiple configurations of demands.”
As a step to addressing aviation safety in the country, the families, while launching the Safer Sky Foundation (SSF) and a website for victims of all crashes, said the objective of the foundation was to generate intense discussion on safe travels in the country.
The Chairman said: “Push for all commercial airlines flying in the country to observe the highest standard of aviation safety and to maintain it at all time.
“Request that any minister who under his or her watch, a Dana-like plane crash occurs in Nigeria, should not keep his or her job, and responsible Chief Executives should be relieved of their posts and prosecuted. This must be the rule of engagement.”