Thursday 6 June 2013

Tribute: Remembering our compatriots aboard Flight J9 992

Aviation Nigeria

by Yakubu Datti

Like a soothing balm, the voices of Bishop Mathew Kukah and Dr. Kabir Adamu led the nation in prayers.
Exactly a year ago, the tides of the times changed irreversibly forever, the loss of lives -the end of dreams. Hopes were dashed all over, treasured memories evaporated in seconds. All over the country, families, colleagues, associates all mourned the tragedy that has come to be known as Dana Air Flight J9 992.

The ill fated aircraft had crashed into the Iju-Ishaga neighbour-hood killing the over 157 on board and also residents of the neighbour-hood. The ensuing weeks after, the country stood united in grief as flags were flown at half mast in honor of the departed passengers. One year after the tragic crash, the anniversary brought to fore again, the sad reminder of the events of June 3, 2012 and the harrowing experience the nation went through.

President Goodluck Jonathan who had visited Lagos in the wake of the crash ensured that their memories were not in vain. For Jonathan, it was an immense loss, of compatriots, of citizens who were not only bread winners with filial attachments to their relations and friends but who were also contributing to the sustainable development of Nigeria in their various capacities.

On June 3, 2013, the President led the Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah and other high profile dignitaries to honor the victims of the accident and unveil a cenotaph built for them as mark of remembrance.
So, also as part of the on-going reform in the aviation sector and also part of the renewed vigor in aviation  accident and investigation, the aviation industry instituted a safety week which will be observed from June 3, 2013 and this is intended to take place every year to bring about a heightened awareness in the industry.

At the memorial event, Christian and Islamic prayers were held for the repose of the souls of the passengers, while the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah who hosted the event reiterated the commitment of the aviation ministry to ensure that this incident is averted at all cost. The climax and touching moment of the event was the unveiling of the cenotaph by the President which showed the names of the passengers, bringing once more to light, the sad reminder of the crash.

This is being followed by the safety week which is concentrating so much on the appraisal of the actions that had been taken by the aviation industry to improve safety in the sector and the lessons learnt by concerned authorities over the tragic crash. It will be recalled that many facilities linked to the safety and critical components have been improved upon since the Dana Air flight crash, just as all the government agencies in the sector have not rested on their oars but have continued to work to improve safety of flights and the comfort of passengers.

Most importantly, issues of safety and security have been given priority attention with over 80 percent the implementation of recommendations of the Technical and Administrative Review Committee (TARPDA).
Note worthy is the fact that in the last one year there has been an improvement in the area of communication, navigation and installation of modern surveillance equipment in all the airports in the country. There have been massive training and human capacity development of Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) and other technical personnel of all the agencies in the aviation sector and just few days ago, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) flagged off the area radar control, which will further reduce the time of flight, so the Lagos to Abuja flight that used to be 55 minutes may be reduced to 45 minutes, thereby saving airlines huge amounts of money in fuel cost.

On what has been done so far in the area of compensation, the initial 30 per cent compensation has been paid to about 90 relatives of the victims.

In what has been described as the most poignant fall outs of the Dana air tragedy is the initiative by the Ministry of Aviation, to establish the “Victims Family Insurance Programme.” The program is designed to provide additional compensation in case of future occurrences of air accidents in the country and this is in addition to the plan to set up airlines operators insurance compensation scheme.

The memories of the departed will sure linger on forever, as all efforts are being done to ensure that such disaster are averted.

Yakubu Dati is the coordinating General Manager, information and Communications for Aviation parastatals.


  1. Very nice read, lets hope all that has been promised will be fullfilled. If not for anything, at least for the sake of those gone..

  2. Is 30% compensation in 365 days sufficient effort? Just asking. If it is, that woul take 3years and roughly 3months to pay up. Please something should be done about the compensation sir.