By ROSEMARY ONUOHA
Amidst claims from Prestige Insurance Plc and Dana Management that payment of compensation to all the families of the victims of the Dana Airplane that crashed on 3rd of June 2012 is being delayed due to multiple claims from some families, some of the affected families have described the allegation as unfounded and total falsehood.
Speaking through their legal practitioners and consultants, M.O Awoniyi & Co, about 40 families rebuffed the allegation saying that the insurance company and the Dana Management are only playing hanky-panky to avoid paying compensation.
According to the families, there has never been any incident of multiple claims from families of the victims because all necessary documentations have been done and sent to Dana which was proved to be accurate. Dana Management is only passing the blame for their inefficiency and outright refusal to pay compensation to the suffering families, they said.
The families accused Dana Management of taking some steps which their insurance company, Prestige and solicitors are not aware of.
It will be recalled that the 40 families of victims of the ill-fated Dana Airplane petitioned the Senate Committee on Aviation on the deliberate refusal of the airline to pay them the statutory $30,000 compensation.
The deliberate refusal, according to the families, is as a result of the wicked machinations of Dana Airline and its representatives.
The families also claimed that the names of two of them, Ahmad Dukawa and Femi Shobowale, were fraudulently listed by Dana Airlines, its local and international insurers, Prestige Assurance Plc and Pritchard Insurance/Lloyd’s of London as having been paid $30,000 each.
Consequently, the families have petitioned the Chairman, Senate Committee on aviation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to wade into the matter.
According to the families, the action is a willful, deliberate and malicious refusal by Dana and its insurers to pay the statutory compensation to them.
Section 48(3) of the Civil Aviation Act provides “In any case of aircraft accident resulting in death or injury of passengers, the carrier shall make advance payments of at least US $30,000(Thirty thousand united States dollars) within 30 days from the date of such accident, to the natural person or such natural persons who are entitled to claim compensation in order to meet the immediate economic needs of such persons and such advance payments shall not constitute recognition of liability and may be offset against any amounts subsequently paid as damages by the carrier.”
According to Bunmi Awoyemi one of the lawyers representing the families of the victims, all efforts to get the claims to be paid thus far have proved abortive.
Awoyemi said “We have tried severally and in vain, via written and oral communication(s) to get the Airline and its insurer’s solicitors, particularly the law firm of Yomi Oshikoya & Co. (who are responsible for giving the cheques to the families of the victims) to pay our clients their monies as stipulated in the Act, but all our efforts have not produced the desired result.