LAGOS, Nigeria – Over 20 relatives of foreigners involved in the Dana Air ill-fated flight on June 3rd 2012 that killed all 153 passengers on board and 10 on the ground, have sued the airline in their different countries for negligence.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, who disclosed this development to newsmen last week at the NCAA headquarters in Lagos, pointed out that the foreigners involved were from the United States, United Kingdom, China amongst other countries.
Dr. Demuren noted that some of the foreigners and some Nigerians had dragged Dana Air to court to press charges against the airline adding that until that was settled, the families could not be compensated.
Asked whether he knows the outcome of the litigation, Dr. Demuren declined to comment on it. He however, stressed that apart from the foreigners dragging the airline to court, Dana Airlines was expected to pay the sum total of $350m as compensation to the families of 153 victims onboard the airline noting that the amount of money to be paid excludes those who were killed on ground by the aircraft.
According to him,”the meeting we are holding today is about Dana Air, although as you know money cannot replace lives that were lost due to the crash, people have lost their loved ones. The law is very clear that we need to pay the money that is required.”
Debunking some media reports, not Vanguard, that the airline was not adequately insured, Dr. Demuren insisted that the airline was adequately insured as at the time of the crash.
He, however, explained that only 62 families had been paid so far due to the stringent measures involved in assessing the funds stressing that there were multiple claims from some family members which dragged the process backward.
He said, “The aircraft was adequately covered by insurance and I can tell you that the whole money for the settlement of the families according to the law, is on ground, but we have to say it here that money cannot replace lives because so many people have lost their loved ones. Money is the smallest thing and the law is very clear on compensation.
“We had to do a lot of DNA tests to know who to pay to in case of multiple claims. It is very important for us to move forward. That was why we called Dana management, NAICOM and representatives of Lloyds Insurance Company.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Technical, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Ibrahim Hassan also affirmed the statement of the D-G, NCAA that Dana Airlines was adequately insured as at the time of the crash adding that they had been insured even before the said crash.
According to him, “30 per cent of the risk was domiciled in Nigeria by various insurance companies while Llyods of London bears the remaining 70 per cent risk.The issue of 70 per cent has already been resolved. You really have to carry out who the next-of-kin is. Again, some people have already gone to court to challenge the airline on the amount of money they are being paid.
“The compensations of those people who lost their lives and properties on ground have not even commenced. We should not sensationalise the issue, but be responsible. However, I can assure you that all the issues would be settled,” Mr. Hassan added.