The House of Representatives and the executive arm of government may be heading for a showdown over the resumption of flights by Dana Airline despite the parliamentary resolution seeking the revocation of the airline's licence.
But as the House prepares to reopen the issue on resumption after the yuletide break, the executive, through the Ministry of Aviation, yesterday defended its decision to recertify the airline for operations.
The House, after considering the report of a committee set up to probe the crash of Dana Air flight 992 in a Lagos suburb in June 2012 that killed over 160 people, including those on the ground in the neighbourhood, had demanded the revocation of the airline's operating licence.
The House had also called for the sack of the Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren.
However, seven months after the airline was grounded in the aftermath of the crash, it resumed scheduled domestic flights last Friday.
The House Committee on Aviation on Monday had expressed displeasure over the resumption of flights by Dana and vowed to revisit the issue.
THISDAY learnt that the lawmakers are likely to include their resolution seeking the revocation of Dana Air licence on their long list of parliamentary resolutions that have been ignored by the executive.
It was gathered that they might insist on Demuren's sack and the revocation of Dana's licence.
But there were also indications yesterday that the Ministry of Aviation may have foreclosed on reversing its decision to lift the suspension on the Air Operating Certificate (AOC) of the airline.
Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Joe Obi, told THISDAY that the decision to lift the suspension on Dana's licence was not carried out in defiance of the resolution of the House as perceived in some quarters.
Obi explained that the process of unbanning the airline had reached an advanced stage at the time the resolution was made.
"We have tremendous respect for the institution of the National Assembly and its resolutions and would not deliberately disregard them.
"The process of lifting the suspension on Dana Airline began long before the resolution was passed. However, whenever they invite us to explain what happened we have no choice than to provide the explanations for them to understand the rationale," Obi said.
Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, had objected to Dana Airline's resumption of flights.
The lawmaker had argued that it was wrong to recertify the airline when all issues relating to the crash, including issues on compensation to victims of the crash and the safety of the fleet, had not been resolved.
Onyejeocha, however, pledged that the House would look into the matter as soon as the House resumes next week.
She advised Nigerians to be patient as the House was committed to ensuring that the safety of the nation's airspace was not compromised. The House, she vowed, would not allow the issue to be swept under the carpet.
The National Assembly Joint Committee on Aviation had recommended the withdrawal of Dana Airline's licence because it was not issued in compliance with NCAA's Civil Regulations Guidelines 2009.
In its report on the plane crash, the joint committee said that during its investigations, it discovered that the NCAA did not comply with the procedure for the issuance of the AOC to Dana.
It also said that between October 2009 and May 2012, Dana recorded 14 air returns caused by system failure, of which the crashed aircraft accounted for five.
The report also observed that the ill-fated Dana aircraft (5N-RAM) was insured by Prestige Insurance Company owned by Dana Group of Companies.
According to the report, the company could not avail the committee with evidence to support its claim that the aircraft was also insured by Lloyds of London.