MORE than seven months after Brazilian-made Associated Airlines' Embraer 120 aircraft conveying the remains of the former Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Agagu to Akure crashed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, the airline has secretly paid the initial $30,000 compensation each to 16 affected families.
This payment of initial compensation contradicts the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rule, which gives airline 30 days after the accident, to pay the initial $30,000 compensation to families of those who lost their lives in the crash.
Despite the payment, no insurance company was named as the insurer of the airline, whose airplane crashed in October 3, 2013.
According to a source close to the airline, the payment of the initial $30,000 compensation was delayed because the airline was having issues with its insurer, whose name was not disclosed, adding that up to the time of paying the initial compensation to the 16 families, the issues have not been resolved.
At the airline's office in Lagos, where the compensation was paid, the source said it was gathered that no insurer was present and that the name of the insurer was never mentioned.
The source revealed to our correspondent that official of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was at the airline's office, adding that the airline promised to pay the balance of $70,000 after investigation has been concluded.
The Associated Airline's crashed had killed 15 people on board, including family members' of the former governor and top officials of the state government.
As at the time of compiling this report, attempts to reach the Chief Operating Officer, Associated Airlines, Taiwo Raji to speak on the issue proved abortive, as he could not be reached. The Deputy General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, confirmed the payment but gave a different number of the families that were paid.
"Yes, Associated began settlement of claims today (yesterday). 13 have their claims prepared and nine came and were paid. Three did not come. Four have issues still to be settled. $30,000.00 paid. NCAA officials were present," Adurogboye said.