By Abdulwahab Abdulah, Onozure Dania & Michael Oladepo
LAGOS — A Coroner inquest, investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash of Dana Airline in Lagos on June 3, which claimed no fewer than 150 lives and destroyed property worth millions of naira, yesterday, commenced sitting in Lagos.
The Chief Coroner, Mr. Oyetade Komolafe, sequel to the application made by Mrs. Funmi Falana, granted the request to issue summon on the Aviation Minister, Mrs Princess Stella Odua; Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa-Ibom State; Dana Air management; security agencies; government agencies and some individuals to give evidence on the cause of the crash.
Mr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN and Mr Falana and Falana Chambers, had separately, requested an inquest into the cause of the air crash in line with the Coroner Law of Lagos State.
At the inaugural sitting of the Coroner Inquest at the premises of Alimosho Magistrate Court, Abule-Egba, Lagos, the Chief Coroner asked the lawyers to furnish the court with the names of those required to appear before it, so that hearing summons would be issued on them.
Mrs. Funmi Falana, who represented one of the petitioners, told the court that in line with Section 32 of the Rules of the court, it was for the court to list and issue hearing summons on the relevant agencies and individuals, who are to give evidence before the court to carry out its statutory obligation.
Justice Lateefa Okunnu had following a request by Agbakoba and Falana, directed the Coroner of Alimosho District, Magistrate O. Komolafe to conduct an inquest into the Dana plane crash.
Mrs Falana told the court that the Minister of Aviation, who is in charge of the Aviation Ministry and Governor Akpabio, who said he had earlier issued a warning notice to the airline and others are necessary parties to be summoned by the court.
Also, a lawyer from Agbakoba aligned himself with Mrs Falana and prayed the court to issue official summons to enable the invitees give information on how to get to the root of the crash.
Others expected to be summoned by the coroner court as listed by the lawyers, include Assistant Inspector-General of Police for Lagos and Ogun States; National Airspace Management Authority, NAMA; Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN; the Lagos State Police Command; the Lagos Airport Command of the state Police; Lagos State Fire Service; Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, LASEMA; Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC; Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, and the Chief Medical Examiner, Lagos State Coroner System.
Others are the Nigerian Red Cross; six oil companies believed to have supplied aviation fuel to the airline— Cleanserve Oil, Sahara Oil, MRS, AP, Total, Conoil; the Nigerian Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers; representatives of the Landlord Association of the area where the crash occurred; copy of the report of the Black box; Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority; Accident Investigation Research (Mr Tunji Oketumbi); Aviation Fuel Supplier; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; the relatives of victims of the deceased passengers and those on the ground and the surviving victims, among others.
The coroner, meanwhile adjourned further sitting till July 12, for the parties to be served with the summons and to enable the chambers of Olisa Agbakoba prepare its papers for the inquest.