Nigerians last Monday, June 3, 2013 expressed fresh grief and paid tributes to victims of last year’s Dana Airline flight 992 which crashed in Iju Ishaga, a suburb of Agege area in Lagos State, killing all 153 crew and passengers on board and four others at the crash site.
To commemorate that dark day a year ago, of the horrific accident, families that lost loved ones joined Federal and Lagos State governments to pay tributes to the departed and prayed God for safer skies. Although no amount of memorial can restore lost lives, the events nonetheless explained true empathy with the families of the departed, who are still grieving.
One of the reasons, for such long grief, far beyond the huge losses suffered on that day amongst other issues is that of non payment of compensations to families of the dead which we think should have been addressed long before the first year anniversary.
We understand that in line with Montreal Protocol, relations of the crash victims are entitled to one hundred thousand dollars each in compensation. But one year after, it is most regrettable that Dana Airline management has not discharged its responsibility to the affected widows and other relations who lost their breadwinners.
Also waiting for the same compensation are families of crew members, not to mention the innocent four of Iju Ishaga crash site whose case still hangs in the balance.
Considering the fact that Dana Airline has since commenced operations in spite of public outcry to the contrary, that such compensations have not been paid is the height of insensitivity and indeed the most annoying example of corporate irresponsibility.
We think that one year is long enough period for a responsible Airline to address all issues arising from that ill-fated crash including, helping to resolve lingering litigations between and among possible beneficiaries of the compensations and of course the dead four on ground.
The Tide agrees with the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, that adequate compensation be paid to the Iju Ishaga ground victims, along with the crew and passengers who perished in the crash. Clearly, if Dana Flight had shown sufficient empathy with the families involved and after receiving easy clearance it got from the authorities to commence operations it would not require the ceremonial reminder of a Catholic Bishop to do right, one year after.
In fact, all necessary demands made of the Airline by the victims’ next of kin should have been met within the year, before what appears a hurried clearance by the National Aviation authorities to start flight operations.
This is why the new December deadline given Dana Airline to make good its obvious lapses in human relations, is perceived by many as an unnecessary time extension. However, it should give the Airline another opportunity to leverage on public goodwill, even in the face of obvious disapproval and act right.
Although The Tide shares the sentiment of those who view the new December deadline as unnecessary, it is however hoped that Dana Airline will use the time to resolve all these issues because it offers fresh sufficient opportunity to discharge its responsibilities to families of crash victims including the Iju Ishaga ground victims without fail.