''Dana Air License Suspension-The Good, The Bad and the Ugly''
On June 3rd 2012 at about 4 pm I got a BB message, that a plane came down in a residential area somewhere within a Lagos suburb, I initially dismissed it as another of the usual silly BB messages, especially as our dear NTA was busy showing us the
wonders of cassava bread and how the vice president loves to wash down the bread with water from some miserable borehole. But try as I did to ignore the message, my soul was troubled and I had to call a few people and it was finally confirmed that one aircraft actually came down and after about an hour of frantic calls, I got pictures and messages confirming the crash of Dana Air MD 83 with 153 souls on board and yet to be determined number of people who perished while sitting in the homes, some have never been to an airport in their lives, let alone enter an airplane.
So began the horse trading and denials, anger, grieve etc I will not bother you with the history, health or otherwise of the ill fated aircraft, much has already been written about that, what I want to do is bring to your attention salient issues that have been ignored in the cacophony and outright misinformation being peddled by officials of the ministry of aviation and Dana Air.
Firstly experts all agreed that the two engines of an aircraft should not fail at the same time, especially since it has been claimed that the aircraft was in a good condition. The only reason that can be adduced for a double engine failure is problem associated to adulterated fuel. I have been reliably informed that through an informal arrangement, SPG is the main supplier of aviation fuel to local carriers who wish to remain in the good books of the minister for aviation. Finding from NTSB also prove that the two engines can only fail at the same time if the fuel is adulterated or of low quality. Nigerians, draw your own conclusions.
Since 2002 we have had series of air crashes and if you start to count from the Sky power of Jan 5 2000 until the wing aviation crash of 2008, with six people on board and the plane was not found until about 6 months later, the number of people that died amount to 600, while the number of people that died between 2008 and 2012 was 200. So between 2002 (EAS crash) and 2012 (Dana crash), 800 people have died in the air. This number does not include those that died in the Skypower crash of 2000. There seems to be a spiritual dimension to it, but I will keep that for another day, what is peculiar about all these crashes is that we have been fed with lies, fake reports and deafening silence of complicity by Nigerian officials.
During the senate committee sitting that probed the Borisade and Fani-Kayode's tenure on aviation, some interesting things were made public. It became a public knowledge that all of the previous air crash reports had been doctored and the only authentic report, usually carried out by NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) were never made public. It was revealed that both the Sosoliso and ADC crashes were avoidable crashes, while the Bellview plane had a bomb on it. (Let the presidency disprove me and bring out the NTSB report on Bellview).
Also note that Femi Fani Kayode upon his appointment as the Aviation minister, discovered these problems of fake, doctored and inadequate reports on air accidents and that was why he created Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, an independent accident investigation board, headed by Oduselu. This body had a direct reporting line to the presidency and the minister of aviation; therefore the NCAA cannot tamper with nor interfere with their job. But curiously, Oduselu, the head of the AIB was relieved of his duty six months before the ill fated Dana crash, while the AIB was completely sidelined in the investigation of the DANA crash, the minister; Stella Oduah constituted a kangaroo committee to look into the remote and immediate causes of the accident. How convenient?
It might also interest you, my readers, to know that Dana Air against all standard practice has not paid out compensations to most families of the bereaved as I write, 3 months after the ill fated accident; rather they are in court, actively conniving with the Federal Government of Nigeria to stop the coroner inquest into the accident. I am yet to be aware of any other place in the world where an airliner will be actively blocking an inquest into the cause of a crash of one of their aircraft.
Stella Oduah recently told us that in standard best practice, you don't withdraw an airliner's license due to accidents and my investigations agreed with her submission, but what she failed to tell us is that, those other countries have an efficient system, where officials are not bribed, nor do ministers force airlines to buy aviation fuel from their private companies. Standard best practice allows particular airline to continue working, even after an accident because all their fleet are properly managed and the records are made public. But in Nigeria where everything is shrouded in mystery, airlines are normally grounded until proper checks are conducted and investigations are concluded. This was why Sosoliso and ADC were never allowed to fly again in Nigeria. I therefore found it amusing that madam Oduah suddenly remembered standard best practice when the inquest and investigation to Dana crash hasn't been completed. Standard best practice would have been to pay compensations to the families of the bereaved on time. I dare Madam Stella Oduah to make public the NTSB report if her hands are clean.
Another dangerous thing in our aviation industry is playing politics and giving patronage to a few people without regards to the welfare and safety of the majority. EAS airline was taken over by Jimoh Ibrahim another serial undertaker, but was found to be unsafe and the then minister of aviation, Femi Fani Kayode, withdrew its license and grounded the airline in 2007. Is it not curious that the same Jimoh Ibrahim was suddenly allowed, by the current regime, to take over the national carrier, Virgin Nigeria, later re-branded as Air Nigeria? We are all witnesses to the damage Mr. Ibrahim has wrought on that carrier in just a few years of his take over. How else do you define incompetence, unpatriotic selfishness, greed and official wickedness?
There have been too many crashes in Nigeria, from small planes, choppers to major airliners and we wonder what is happening but it is very clear that the Nigerian officials are as culpable as hell in all these problems. some people have even claimed that it is deliberate blood sacrifice by some powerful people, I can't confirm that but what I can confirm is that most air accident reports are doctored and the NTSB report ,usually carried out by Americans are never implemented because it often implicated so many powerful people. My candid advice to air traveller is to pray and ask God for protection and avoid travelling on Saturday and Sunday as much as you can. The pattern of major accidents from ADC, Sosoliso, Dana etc has shown that there is a greater risk of an air crash on a weekend than on a weekday.
In conclusion, there is a deliberate cover up in high places on major air crashes in Nigeria and I will like Nigerians to ask Stella Oduah to tell us who supplied the aviation fuel to Dana Air on the fateful flight? Also let them refute the claim that adulterated fuel was responsible for the double engine failure of Dana Air MC Donnell Douglas MD 83 which crashed around Iju Ishaga on June 3 2012. I also want Mrs Oduah to refute the claim that there is an informal arrangement whereby airlines buy fuel mainly from her company, SPG oil. I also want her to tell us if all Nigerian airliners adhered to Global Standard Best Practices and if that was responsible for the following:
1. Delay in payments of compensations to the families of the bereaved.
2. Quashing the coroner inquest on the ill fated Dana Plane crash.
It is a shame to see how we are treated by those who have the oversight to watch over our lives, but some day we shall all appear before the judgement throne of God to be rewarded according to our works. None of us we live forever, but what will be written on your epitaph?
May the soul of the people KILLED by Dana Air plane rest in peace and may all those culpable for deliberately shielding the truth of that crash be haunted perpetually until they breathe their last.
By Abayomi Oyalowo