It is almost a year since the DANA aircraft crashed in Ishaga, Agbado area of Lagos State killing all the 153 people on board and no fewer than a hundred on the ground. While many of the families of those on board had been compensated, the ground victims are still waiting for the manna.
The memory of 3 June, 2012 will for a long time remain green in the minds of the families of the 153 passengers on board of the Dana aircraft on that fateful day as well as the families of victims on ground of the crash. “It was like a scene from a thriller movie’ recalled Chinyere Okafor, one of the displaced victims. But almost a year later, the stark reality of the crash had not only started the victims rudely in the eyes, it has brought Okafor and others like him to shocking re-awakening.
Almost a year after the management of DANA air is yet to compensate any of the family members of the ground victims and those on board of the aircraft. While speaking with Saturday Mirror, Chima Iloka, one of the ground victims who lost his brother-in-law who was living with him in the crash lamented that the management of Dana has deliberately refused its insurers to pay the statutory compensation to them.
“The deliberate refusal is as a result of the wicked machinations of Dana Airline and its representatives. It is a very sad situation we have found ourselves in. The third of next month will mark the first anniversary of the crash. And since then, we have not been compensated.
The only thing we got from them was N200, 000 which they gave us about a month after the incident. They said we should it to secure accommodation. It was not even enough for that purpose.
We have been patiently waiting all these while thinking that they would do something but till this minute, nothing has been done so far. All we keep hearing is that we should be patient and that they are waiting for updates from their insurance company.
This is not just fair at all. We are even working on going to the state government to help us use their good office to help us talk to DANA management to pay up the compensation. Life has been very tough for us since the incident.
Ever since the death of my brother in law, my aged mother in law has been the one taking care of the three children he left behind back in the village. The government should please help us step into the issue and talk to the management of DANA to do something about our situation.”
For Chinyere Okafor, the story is not particularly different as she also told Saturday Mirror of her many battles with poverty and lack of a befitting environment to stay compounded with rumours of compensation being paid.
“Life since that incident has been extremely tough. We cannot even afford enough to get a befitting apartment to live ever since. The most painful part of the whole story is the fact that we keep reading and hearing that the victims have been compensated, whereas we have not gotten anything from DANA management.
The only money they gave was the N200, 000 they gave to us about one month after the incidence. The only thing we have been hearing is that they are still working on the updates from their insurance company and this has been their song for months.
As I speak with you, nothing positive has been done to this effect. Everywhere we go people will be telling us that we are the ones reigning now that our compensation has been paid and that is not the case. It has been very devastating for us.
The government should please help us step into the matter and talk to DANA management to pay up the compensation so that we can move on with the rest of our lives” Buttressing the former, Chike Okwuosa one of the victims and a member of the Community Development Association of the area disclosed to Saturday Mirror that instead of the compensation to be paid by the management of the airline, the talk is about the updates they are compiling.
“We have done so much and yet no positive results have been out. As if the situation is not even bad enough, there has been other havoc done to us in this area. They have been pulling down our fences in the name of constructing the roads.
We are now left with the burdens of repairing our walls which had been pulled down. The bad thing is that we were only given three days notice to the effect.
This added more to our frustration. We have decided to do a petition to the Lagos State government on DANA so that the government can help us use their good office to instruct DANA to pay up the compensations.
We have been patiently waiting all these months with no positive news from them we even hired a lawyer to solicit for us in the person of Barrister Chris Ubani who has been talking to their management yet with no concrete response till now.
I think it is really time for us to take a drastic action on this issue. We are really tried of the empty promises we have been getting from DANA management. And to think of it, barely seven months after that gory incidence, the airline got their licence back and yet no compensation had been made to us till now. It has not been fair on us” remarks Okwuosa.
While speaking with Ubani, the counsel for some of the displaced victims, he stated that the law firm of DANA Airline has been clumsy about the payment of compensation to the victims. “Their law firm has been prevaricating on the payment of compensation to ground victims. Our best bet is a legal action in court.
That is the last option and I think it is not impossible now as things stand” However, in a telephone conversation with Tony Usidamen, the spokesman on legal matters for DANA Airline, he told Saturday Mirror that the problem is not with the management of the airline but the delay is from their insurance companies.
“The problem is not with DANA because we are not the one in charge of paying the compensation and we have been waiting for our insurance company to collate the updates and send to us.
That is what has been delaying the whole process. Not until we get the updates from our insurance company, there is virtually nothing we can do or I can say about the issue,” he said.