Two years after its McDonnell 83 aircraft crashed into residential building in Iju Ishaga area of Lagos killing all 153 passengers on board, leading Nigerian lawyers under the aegis of the Aviation attorney Group said In Lagos yesterday that it is collaborating with other lawyers in the United Kingdom and the United States have launched legal actions against DANA Air and the estate of its pilot on behalf of 27 families .
The lawyers are acting on behalf of 27 families that lost their loved ones in the crash.
The lawyers , the Aviation Attorney Group , spoke in a statement signed by Sola Solotan.
The group said it has issued legal proceedings in the Federal High Court, in Lagos on behalf of 27 families who lost their loved ones in the June 3, 2012 DANA Air crash.
The 27 families are allegedly holding liability for the crash against the airline and its pilot.
The Aviation Attorney Group is led by Oba Nsugbe , a senior advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Tunde Ajibade , a senior advocate of Nigeria and Mr Ajibola Dalley, working with United and United States lawyers Irwin Mitchell and Colson Hicks Eidson.
According to aviation experts, this is believed to be the largest Fatal Accidents Claim of its kind ever launched in Nigeria,
The proceedings according to the lawyers are being brought to protect the interest of the families prior to the expiry of two year limitation period .
The lawyers said it is to ensure that the future of the 27 family members are secure through the payment of proper and fair compensation for the loss of their loved ones.
According to Oba Nsugbe:” No sum of money can ever be adequate compensation for the loss of any life. It cannot restore life nor can it replace it, however, if substantial enough, it can have the effect of not only safeguarding the future of those dependants tragically left behind and act as a deterrent to those who recklessly or negligently fail in the duty they bear, to keep those in their custody safe.
This thinking reflects the manner in which we have approached these important cases. In other words, our objective is not just to ensure that the families are fairly treated but also to try to address the root causes of the accident and needless loss of life which are symptomatic of some of the ills in our society today”
Also speaking, Dr Ajibade said : “There is a perception that the ease with which airline operators involved in previous crashes in Nigeria have avoided financial liability for these accidents has contributed to their recurrence.
There is also a perception that Nigerians are too docile and distrustful of the judicial system to pursue their legal rights through the courts. The Aviation Attorney Group hopes to change these perceptions with these actions and salute the courage of the plaintiffs who have opted to pursue their claims.”
Mr. Ajibola on his part said that “Over the last twenty months “The Aviation Attorney Group” has worked tirelessly towards presenting a formidable case, on behalf of the family members. The collaboration between local and foreign attorney’s, across the continents of Africa, Europe and America, is in itself a testament to the thirst for positive change in the way relatives of air accidents are treated, in Nigeria.
We believe the strength of our approach will, in future, steer the regulatory authorities and local airlines towards a more safety conscious mode of operation.”
This is why the Aviation Attorney Group has wholeheartedly lent its support to worthwhile initiatives designed to ensure that some good comes out of the horrors of two years ago. For example it is working closely with the Nigeria Leadership Initiative in its efforts to keep the vital subject of air safety under the spotlight in Nigeria.
The lawyers group said it will shortly be launching its “Safer Skies Initiative” designed to promote a greater awareness of flight safety in Nigeria.
“Among other things, two years ago the Group held workshops in Abuja and Lagos to help the families with grief counselling and financial planning. The Aviation Attorney Group took part in those sessions advising families on their legal rights and advocating for better resourced rescue services in the country as well as the immediate release of the accident investigation report.”