by Isi Esene
The families of the victims of the Dana Air crash have resolved to unite and form a formidable front in facing the challenges which might arise as a result of the unfortunate accident.
They complained of neglect by the authorities claiming that nothing concrete has been done so far to ease their sufferings.
Speaking between sobs, Miss Chizoba Mojekwu, whose sister was in the ill-fated flight, complained that they have been “abandoned” by the government.
“No one was speaking for us.
“You can’t help but be angry when our National Assembly sit down and tell Dana to pay the $100,000 dollars as if that’s what the lives of our loved ones are worth.
“We know accidents happen but it is how we manage it that is very critical,” she added.
“You have to clarify who is entitled to claims,” said Ajibola Dalley, an aviation lawyer.
“Usually, when these things happen, the insurance companies take over.
“It is no longer the airline that is calling the shots, and usually as business people, they’d rather not pay,” Mr. Dalley added.
Mr. Dalley stated that the Montreal Convention (which is under the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act) – a set of rules that applies to airlines’ liability in the course of an accident – says that victims’ families are entitled to a minimum of US$100,000 after 30 days.
Speaking at the Nigerian Leadership Initiative organised forum, Mr. Ajibola Dalley, an aviation lawyer, said the families (or next of kins) risk losing out entirely from the compensation benefits if the process is not wrapped up within two years of the incident.
“Under the Montreal Convention, there is a limit of two years.
“If in two years, you haven’t received your compensation, you will not be able to sue or go to court,” he said.
Speaking for the NLI, Yinka Oyinlola, said, “We can’t know your pains because we are not wearing your shoes. We are not gathered here to vent our anger, as angry as we may be.
“We are gathered to do something to avoid or minimize future disasters,” said Mr. Oyinlola.
He said the NLI have concluded plans to commence a ‘Safer Sky Initiative’ – that will provide opportunities for people who observe certain anomalies in aircraft to be able to report them.
“We are going to be working with regulators to ensure that we do that which is right,” Mr. Oyinlola concluded.