THE House of Representatives, yesterday, gave the management of Dana Air to an ultimatum to pay the required compensation to families of its ill-fated aircraft that crashed in Lagos, Sunday, June 3, 2012, killing all 153 pessengers on board.
The resolution of the House followed a motion sponsored by Yakub Abiodun which gave Dana Air until next Tuesday to comply with its resolution.
Abiodun who led the debate on the motion had pointed out that his prayer was in line with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act, which stipulates that 30 per cent of compensation due to be paid to families of airborne crash victims within 30 days, while investigation into cause of such accidents continues.
Also, all other airlines who have had plane crashes in the past have been directed to comply with the laws by paying the 30 per cent of the required compensation or in full where investigations have been concluded.
The Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, simply known as the Montreal Convention, adopted by a diplomatic meeting of member states of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, in 1999, stipulated a Special Drawing Rights, SDR, for victims of air crash, which current value is put at about $171,000 per passenger.
Abiodun who moved the motion under matters of urgent public importance argued that since section 48 of the Civil Aviation Act stipulated that an advance payment of 30 per cent of the SDR be made within 30 days, it was important that the House urge the management of Dana Air to comply immediately.
Deputy Leader of the House, Mr Leo Ogor, representing Isoko Federal Constituency who supported the motion, however, said there was an urgent need to domesticate all international conventions or treaties entered by Nigeria with a view to giving them the force of law, as according to him, issues like this would be easily dealt with when they arise.
Also Reps Haruna Kigbu, Nnena Elendu-Ukeje, Musa Sarki Adar, Peter Edeh and Kingsley Chinda in their separate contributions described the development as unfortunate, arguing that it would amount to irresponsibility on the part of the House if nothing was done to compel Dana Air to act immediately, especially in the face of the trauma still being faced by families of victims who were yet to identify the remains of their loved ones.
Elendu Ukeje in his contribution described the compensation as a moral contract that must be complied. Also, Kigbu in his own contribution said “Dana should sooth some of the pains of the victims’ families in this moment of grief,” adding that it was unfortunate that almost a month after the tragic incident, such a requirement stipulated by law was yet to be complied with.