The sad event of Sunday 3rd June 2012 in which a Dana airplane crashed into a private residential building in Iju -Ishaga area of Lagos that killed over one hundred and fifty three persons both on board and on ground was quite unfortunate. This incident was not first or second of such fatal accident in the history of aviation industry in Nigeria but one too many.
Available information from various stakeholders on the ill-fated plane mishap including inner sources in Dana airline indicated that the plane that crashed had series of maintenance problems which needed to have been fixed before the plane was air-bound but unfortunately, because of the greed of the Indian operators of the said airline who considered profit at the expense of safety of passengers, the rickety plane was flown to Lagos with the resultant horrible and fatal consequences to human lives. While recognizing the fact that investigation of the incident has been called for by the Federal government, the National Assembly and other stakeholders to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the crash, we wish to note without prejudice to any on- going investigations that the accident is a reflection of the lethargic state of our sectoral infrastructures where a culture of allowing our facilities to decay until a monumental disaster like the Dana plane inflicted on Nigerians occur, is a recurring decimal in our national endeavors. We also note with serious concern that the regulatory agencies, particularly the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has not lived up to its responsibilities in the aspect of overseeing the numerous airlines operating in the country else, the problems of the ill-fated plane could have come to their notice for immediate action. This could have prevented the monumental accident from happenings.
Furthermore, we strongly believe that the regulatory agencies have failed to learn from past experiences where many of such air disasters have caused the death of hundreds of air passengers. Often, probe panels are set up to find out reasons behind such terrible occurrences but the reports have always remained un-attended to, making the system to either get worse or relapse to status quo. Even though errors can sometimes be infallible, adequate care should be taken in a highly sensitive sector as aviation to safeguard human lives.
Community Action for Popular Participation believe that Nigeria have adequate extant laws and regulations to take care of this situation. If they could be enforced to ensure that airline operators do not place economic gains above the safety of passengers, then we would be on the right track to sanitize the sector. Government’s effort at attracting investors should not include any blind condition that could warrant such operators throwing caution to the dogs. Without proper oversight by the regulatory agencies in charge of aviation, promises by the Federal Government to prevent further recurrence of air crashes will sound empty.
We therefore call on the government and the various agencies including the National Assembly to ensure that a thorough investigation into this disaster is carried out and that findings and recommendations there from are not left lying on the table to gather dust. We call for adequate deterrent punishment for those who are found culpable in the avoidable mishap. This will be the only thing that will guarantee the assurance against future recurrence and for those who lost their lives not to have died in vain.
We also call on the Federal Government to take its reform agenda seriously and ensure that it puts in place appropriate measures to guard against future occurrence. The reform plans in the aviation sector should also put peoples welfare and safety on the priority list while discouraging our foreign investors from turning our country to a dumping ground for obsolete equipments.
While Nigerians await the reports of investigation panels, we urge Nigerian government to make it a point of duty in ensuring that our air space is safe and that all operating airlines on our local and international routes comply with international aviation standards.
Community Action for Popular Participation joins other Nigerians in commiserating with the families of all the people who died during the Dana plane crash. While praying God to give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, we pray for the repose of the deceased.
Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP) is a non-governmental, non-partisan and membership based organization with a vision of a society whose democracy and development is community driven.
Kyauta A.S. Giwa,
Executive DirectorNo tags for this post.