Panel to probe Dana air crash takes off


Nine days after the fatal Dana aircraft crash in Lagos, Nigeria’s central Government on Monday in Abuja inaugurated a Technical/Administrative panel to investigate the cause.

The panel, headed by retired Group Capt. John Obakpolor , was given six weeks to submit its report.

According to the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, the panel would investigate the cause of the recent Dana aircraft crash at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos, which claimed more than 160 lives and destroyed property.

“Government is committed to doing whatever is humanly possible to prevent the re-occurrence of such calamity in future,’’ Oduah said.

Oduah said the ministry was inviting ICAO to urgently undertake a thorough technical and safety oversight of the aircraft and airlines operating in Nigeria.

She explained that the mandate of the panel was distinct from the statutory accident investigation by AIB which had already commenced work.

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“The task of this panel is geared towards the intensification of the ongoing institutional reform of the entire aviation industry in Nigeria. We expect that the panel will make recommendations that will enable us to overhaul the entire industry for greater functionality.This panel is not set up to indict anyone or any organisation, rather, the panel will be factual in carrying out the assignment.

“The accident that has occurred was tragic and most unfortunate. It was a setback on our improved track record of safety and the rising profile of the Nigerian aviation sector,’’ she said.

In his response, Obakpolor said the six weeks given to them was not enough.

He urged the minister to allow the panel to sit in Lagos and move to Abuja when the need arises.

Members of the panel are Capt. Mfon Udom, Capt. Dele Sasegbo, Capt. Austin Omame, Mr O. Agboola, Mr F. Onyenyiri, Capt. Ibrahim Mshelia, Air Commodore Samson Akpasa and Dr Anthony Anuforom as Secretary.

Dr O. B. Aliu, Nigeria’s Representative at International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Capt. Musa Usman and Capt. Muhtar Usman, the Commissioner and CEO, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), are to serve as resource persons when necessary.