Buhari’s party raises questions over lifting of DANA Air’s suspension

Posted by News Express, Lagos | 6 September 2012 | 4,455 times

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General Muhammadu Buhari’s party, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), has raised questions over yesterday’s lifting of the suspension f the operating licence of DANA Air barely three months after over 153 people died in a crash in Lagos involving one of the company’s aircraft.

In a statement just released by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin, CPC said “it is obvious that this PDP-led Federal Government is incapable of managing the expectation of the Nigerian people for strong leadership to guarantee their safety and security.”

In the statement entitled “FG’s lifting of DANA’s suspension: another show of institutional tardiness?” CPC said:

The recent lifting of the suspension of the operation license of DANA Airlines is viewed by the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) as an anti-climax to a very opaque Air Accident Investigation Process. It would be recalled that on Sunday the 3rd of June, 2012, a Lagos-bound DANA airline’s MD83 aircraft crashed, killing all 153 passengers on board. The Airline’s operation license suspended in the wake of that tragic incident, in which some entire families were wiped out, has just been lifted. The statement of restoration of the license, signed by the media aide to the Aviation Minister, Mr John Obi, read in part that the decision was based on the “government’s satisfaction with the air-worthiness of the airline after a rigorous technical, operational and financial audit of the airline.”

Whilst we are not entirely averse to the lifting of the operation license of the Airline if there is an over-arching need to do so, it is pertinent to ask for the original purpose of suspending the airline’s operation license. Was it to placate a traumatized citizenry and revert to the ‘normal’ mode once the feelings of anguish seem to have been doused by passage of time? How did the government arrive at the conclusion of the air-worthiness of the airline? Was it based on the conclusion of the Accident Investigation of the Accident Investigation Bureau?

According to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Act 2006, Section 29(13): “On the basis of the findings of accident investigations the Authority shall be informed and the Director General shall take corrective actions that, in the judgment of the Authority, will prevent similar accidents in the future.”

Indeed, we have trodden this path way before as a Nation in which air disasters occurred incessantly, thereby eroding confidence in the Aviation industry despite Government’s constant assurances. There is a real concern whether, with the opacity with which the Federal Government had conducted this Accident Investigation Process thus far, this is not the beginning of an incipient crisis in the Aviation Industry.

Undoubtedly, this latest action by the Federal Government has propped up many questions:

•    Should the audit of an Airline’s safety regulations process by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Aviation Ministry be only done after the fact of an air accident or more as a routine for proactively ensuring compliance with world aviation standard?

•    Should the formal lifting of the suspension on DANA Airline obviate the need for the still-traumatized Nigerians to know the cause of the crash that killed their loved ones?

•    The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) as an ICAO device is built to withstand the force of a high-speed impact and the heat of an intense fire because of its importance in analyzing air safety issues, material degradation and engine performance, how then was the FDR of this particular aircraft said to have been burnt beyond redemption?

•    Was the said destroyed FDR deliberate ploy to withhold vital information that would have revealed institutional tardiness and unprofessionalism?

•    Will the ‘go-and-sin-no-more’ sentence handed down by the government to DANA Airlines ensure any lesson learned from this tragedy?

•    Aside the usual Government rhetoric, anchored on insipid grandstanding, what is the guaranty that structured institutional reforms are in place to stamp out re-occurrence?

As a Party, we feel the pain of the Nigerian people in the anticipation of true leadership that can extricate this Nation from its present morass. It is obvious that this PDP-led Federal Government is incapable of managing the expectation of the Nigerian people for strong leadership to guarantee their safety and security.

*Photo: CPC chieftain, Muhammadu Buhari.

Source: News Express

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