We received with anguish the tragic news of the crash of the DANA passenger Air Flight from Abuja to Lagos in Iju-Ishaga a suburb that straddles Lagos and Ogun State borders on Sunday evening, the 3rd day June 2012 just a day after the equally worrying news of the crash of another Nigerian Cargo Aircraft in Ghana yesterday.
While the Cargo flight that crashed in Ghana claimed 10 lives, the Dana Flight had on board about 153 passengers excluding the crew and at the time of releasing this statement no survivor has been identified. This is therefore another weekend of harvest of tragedies for Nigerian families especially when we factor in the lives that were lost in the Bauchi bombings.
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) commiserates with the families that have lost their loved ones in this disaster and ask God to give them the equanimity to bear their losses. This is indeed a multiplication of sorrows for Nigerians at the backdrop of the unrelenting Boko Haram menace in most parts of the north.
However, we call on the federal government of Nigeria through its various Aviation agencies: the NCAA, FAAN and NAMA to strengthen their capacities to make our Airspace safer. We do not know the circumstances that must have led to the crash of the Aircraft but we do know that the Dana Flight was less than few minutes to its destination – the MM2. It therefore may have been a navigational or mechanical problem. The Government must immediately investigate the immediate and remote causes of this disaster and why even after hours of this crash in a residential area well known to the authorities, coordinated rescue operation was yet to begin.
Though the nation’s Airspace has been relatively free of these disasters for a while, we want the Aviation regulators to see in this, opportunities to build newer capabilities in the management of our Airspace to reduce carnage in our Air travels. Fleets must be constantly maintained and upgraded to avoid future disasters of this nature.
This unfortunate crash has also exposed the yawning gap in our disaster management capabilities especially in the area of Search and Rescue operations. We have to develop deliberately effective and efficient capacity to respond to emergencies of this nature. This translates into conscious manpower training and acquisition, equipment and logistics enhancements etc.
Finally, while we commend the federal government on its upgrade of most of the nation’s Airports, the need for a review of the Aviation Rescue Fund has become highly imperative. This is to make the funds readily available to operators in the sector to enhance their operational effectiveness and efficiencies leading to a reduction in the frequency of Air disasters in the Country.
Comrade Peter Esele Chief John Kolawole
(President General) (Secretary General)