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Dana: Reps want Demuren prosecuted for criminal negligence

danaThe House of Representatives on Wednesday blamed the June 3, 2012 Dana Air crash in Lagos on negligence by the regulatory authorities and recommended the dismissal and prosecution of the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Harold Demuren.

The crash claimed the lives of all the 153 passengers on board the aircraft and 10 others on the ground.

The Senate/House of Representatives Joint Committee on Aviation had investigated the crash.

The House considered and adopted the report of the committee on Wednesday.

Briefing the House on the findings, the Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Mrs. Nkiruka Onyejeocha, said several faults were reported on the ill-fated aircraft before the crash, but alleged that NCAA continued to clear it for flight operations.

She said, “The aircraft had five air returns before the crash; only one was due to bird strike. The others were caused by faults in the aircraft.

“The NCAA should have grounded the aircraft, but the agency did not care about the lives of Nigerians. Each time a fault was detected, the NCAA continued to clear the aircraft for flying.”

The report noted that there was no certified engineer for the MD83 aircraft in Nigeria, yet NCAA approved it for flight operations in the country.

For this regulatory failure, the committee also recommended the dismissal and prosecution of the NCAA inspector, Mr. Suleiman Akwuh, who inspected and cleared the plane.

Part of the report endorsed by the House reads, “The DG, (Demuren), who approved and deployed the officer, should also be dismissed from service and prosecuted for criminal negligence.

“The NCAA, under the current DG, Dr. Harold Demuren, brought in the MD83 to operate in Nigeria even when there is no licensed engineer rated on the aircraft.

“For the period under review, Dana operated 14 air returns caused by system failure, which is a sufficient indication of imminent danger.

“Up to the time of this report, NCAA is still without any licensed engineer type-rated on MD83, yet it is going ahead with technical audit on Dana operations with a view to restore its licence. This constitutes negligence.

“The tenure of the current DG of the NCAA had expired three months before the Dana crash occurred on June 3, 2012.”

The House directed that NCAA should be allowed to function as an autonomous agency without interference from the Ministry of Aviation.

“The staff strength of the NCAA should be totally overhauled with a view to injecting technically and professionally qualified personnel to enhance its regulatory role in accordance with international best practices,” the report added.

In addition, the House demanded the authorities to revisit the investigation report of Bellview Airlines and other accident investigation reports.

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