The ground victims of the tragic Dana Air's flight J9 0992, which crashed into homes at Iju/Ishaga area of Lagos, killing 153 people on board and about 10 others on the ground, yesterday staged a protest at the head office of the airline, located at Allen Avenue, Ikeja Lagos.
The protesters were demanding compensation for their property that was damaged and the relatives of those who lost their lives, insisting that they must be compensated.
The leader of the protesters, Pastor Daniel Omowunmi, the clergy man whose warehouse and other properties were destroyed by the crash, in conjunction with the Committee for the Defence of Human Right (CDHR), Funmilayo Unit, yesterday led other victims of the accident to block the entrance of the Dana Air office.
With the support of CDHR, the protesters numbering about 100 drove in a convoy to the airline's office at about 8.30 am, carried their placards aloft and blocked the gate to the office to ensure that the airline was stopped from carrying out its daily activities.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read, "Dana is death, beware", "Nigerians please stop flying Dana Airlines", "Dana mission is to kill and destroy", "Dana is yet to pay a dime for property destroyed", "Dana is back to business but we are still out of business".
As expected, the protest created gridlock in the neighbourhood, blocking the major Allen Avenue, but this was later managed by the protesters, who designated one of them to control traffic passing through the area.
At the airline's office, for fear of what would happen to them, the staff locked themselves inside the building, while private security men watched over the building and monitored events. But later a detachment of policemen came in a Toyota Hilux vehicle to maintain peace.
Pastor Omowunmi told journalists that he lost about N500 million to the Dana crash, including his warehouse and publishing house, adding that the airline has not paid him a dime. He added that the airline was not making any effort to pay.
Reacting to the incident, Dana Air in astatement signed by the head of communications, Tony Usidamen, said the airline was aware of the allegations that its insurers have refused to pay compensation to the families of victims of the tragic accident of June 3, 2012, and "we wish to state that these allegations are not true."
"The true position is that 84 families have received advance payments of $30,000 and payment of final settlement to families who have produced the requisite Letters of Administration (and Letter of Guardianship in the case of minors) has commenced, following authentication of the document by the Probate Registry.
"Our insurers are continuing to deal with all other claims, including all who incurred losses on ground at Iju-Ishaga, in accordance with the applicable law."
A fortnight ago the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said that it would make sure that all those ground victims who had lost their dear ones and properties must be compensated, adding that it was working with the airline to ensure that the compensation of the relatives of the crash received adequate compensation in accordance to the 2006 Civil Aviation Regulation