By ROSEMARY ONUOHA
About 40 families of the victims of the Dana plane that crashed on the 3rd of June, 2012 have hailed the recommendation of the House of Representatives committee on aviation calling for the immediate suspension of the operating license of Dana Airlines and that all compensation owed to victims and their families be paid.
The families hailed the move on the grounds that 28 families of victims out of the 40 that petitioned the National Assembly are yet to receive the $30,000 initial compensation.
According to the families, the Ibe and Oyosoro family each lost two people and were each paid $30,000 per family instead of $60,000 per family.
The families who petitioned the Senate and House Committees on Aviation called on the Aviation Minister, the Federal Executive Council, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to immediately implement the recommendations of the House Committee’s report.
Speaking through their Solicitors and Legal Consultants of M.O. Awoyemi & Co., the families said that they are confident that the Senate Committee on aviation will also act on their petition and make far reaching recommendations.
The families said “You will recall that we wrote a petition to the Senate and House committees on aviation on the 27th of November 2012. We are therefore in full support of the final report of the House of Representatives committee on aviation and its recommendations that the operating license of Dana Airlines be suspended immediately and that all compensation owed to victims and their families should be paid. We expect the Aviation Minister, the Federal Executive Council, and the NCAA to immediately implement the recommendations of the House Committee’s report. We are confident that the Senate Committee on aviation will also act on our petition and make far reaching recommendations.”
According to Bunmi Awoyemi, Managing Partner of M.O. Awoyemi & Co., it is time for the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, to wield the big stick against Prestige Assurance Plc and compel them to pay $30,000 per victim within a firm deadline date.
Awoyemi said “On the 30th of November, we petitioned NAICOM on the need to live up to their responsibilities as the regulator of the insurance industry in Nigeria. We told them that it was wrong for the lead local insurer, Prestige Assurance Plc to refuse to remit premium payments to its co-local underwriters thereby making them back out of the coverage based on the statutory principle of ‘no premium no cover.’ This left them as the sole underwriter of 30 per cent of the insurance risk which they have no choice other than to pay under Nigerian insurance statutes.
Unfortunately, Prestige Assurance and its Re-insurer of 70 per cent of the risk, Pritchard
Insurance Ltd/Lloyd’s of London have instructed their solicitors to pay only $30,000 per family which explains why the Oyosoro’s and Ibe’s were each paid $30,000 each instead of $60,000 despite the fact that they each lost two family members each.”
“It is time for NAICOM to wield the big stick against Prestige Assurance and compel them to pay $30,000 per victim within a firm deadline date. It will be unfair to pay one of our clients who lost five family members at once $30,000 instead of $150,000. It will be equally wicked of them to pay one of our clients who lost three family members $30,000 instead of $90,000. It is also illegal for them to ask our clients that lost five family members to prove that they deserve more than $30,000. There is no place in the Civil Aviation Act where proof is required for the $30,000 per victim payment which is supposed to be “without prejudice,” Awoyemi said.
It will be recalled that Managing Partner of M.O. Awoyemi & Co. & New York State admitted attorney, Bunmi Awoyemi, is representing 40 death victims in total in a mass tort law suit in the United States.
He listed the aircraft passenger victims to include Revd. Ayodeji Cole; Revd. Ngozi Cole; Daniel Awani; Georgina Awani; Christopher Ojugbana; Amaka Ojugbana; Ogechi Njoku; Oluchi Onyeyiri; Jennifer Onita; Josephine Onita; as well as Ahmad Dukawa.
Others are Aisha Abdu Garba; Nabila Abdu Garba; Dr. Abdu Garba; Maria Abuiyere as well as five other death victims.
Some of the victims that were given half payment of $15,000 instead of $30,000 were Rajulie Oyosoro; Ugabio Oyosoro; Jessica Ibe and Echendu Ibe.
The ground victims were Mohammed Yusuf; Habibat Yusuf; Nwabuwa Okafor as well as Paul Ebhodaghe.