In the last three weeks, I’ve received two email messages from the management of Dana Airlines Limited. These messages were apparently written to absolve the company of wrongdoing regarding its aircraft that crashed in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos on June 03, 2012 killing over 150 Nigerians.
When I got the first one, I decided to ignore it on the grounds that Dana’s management is obviously ignorant or pretending to be ignorant of the fact that they have committed murder. However, when the second message hit my mailbox, I thought: “These guys are really bastards! It’s heartrending that they have killed our people, now they are adding insult to injury by throwing psychological widgets at us.” After reading the messages, saying I was angered will be an understatement. That I would have been on the ill-fated flight but for the grace of God
The messages are a mixture of legal and exonerative statements all aimed at cowing Nigerians. At one point, the company’s management is commiserating with the families of the deceased persons and in the same breadth, they are pointing their attention to the Standard Airline Emergency Response Procedures. These are the same clowns that never adhered to the International Safety Procedures that would have prevented the crash in the first place.
They made references to the setting up of Crisis Management Centre, which amounts to the application of medicines after death. They also hinted on their fraternization with various agencies of government to settle families affected by the crash! What a time to liaise with government agencies! Was that the kind of alliance they had with NCAA that enabled the company to get away with procedures that would have earned them the revocation of their operating license in a different clime?
Dana’s management assertion that no amount of compensation is enough to make up for lost lives belies their rather shameless belief in using money to get whatever they want. You may not believe it, but these unscrupulous elements made mention of having lost their friends and best staff in the crash! The more I think about it, the more I am inclined to agree with my friend’s opinion that there’s a Conspiracy Theory angle to the crash.
In the first message, the management made mention of the fact that they have 450 staff in the company’s employ. In the second message, the staff strength had become 540 staff! Though these conflicting figures could have been taken as an error of transposition but based on what I know about the nationalities of people at the helm of affairs in Dana, this is deliberate! Obviously, Dana wants us to see the number of Nigerians they have employed. Whether employing 540 Nigerians who are paid peanuts is a license to kill 150 other Nigerians who were professionals, businessmen / business women is a matter best left to their warped minds to contemplate.
As I mentioned in the tribute I wrote to my 5 friends that died aboard the crashed Dana Air aircraft on June 03, 2012, “I am conscious of the fact that we are dealing with some of the best and brightest minds from Asia. They attended some of the best universities in the world and they know all about social psychology, perception management and psychological warfare. It’s obvious they are playing to a well written script as evidenced in their impeccable use of media power…”
One thing that Dana’s management should bear in mind is that they are still swimming naked when the ocean tide has subsided. If they think that they will still operate an airline business in Nigeria, they are joking! The personal qualities of most people of Indian origin do not qualify them to operate a sensitive and capital-intensive business like an airline business.
As contained in my tribute, “In 2009, at a meeting of Dana’s management with one of its local financiers, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Dana was asked why the Group was getting into the Aviation industry when other companies with deep pockets were getting out. Dana’s GMD’s response was that they studied the market and their studies informed why they buy ‘used’ planes. He remarked that it’s one of their competitors (also a new entrant) that opted for new planes that have issues to worry about.”
After the crash, everyone who had flown Dana Air at one time or the other kept saying it could have been anybody. The only complimentary thing they had to say about Dana Air is that they were always on time! In an industry characterized by frequent flight cancellation by operators, shouldn’t we all have been suspicious of an operator who was always keeping to time and rarely had cancelled flights? Apparently, Dana Air was sacrificing safety for timeliness, to their economic benefits. Now we’ve suffered the consequence of being ignorant of the subtleties of Indians.
Personally, for the first three (3) years of its operations, I never flew Dana Air because of the owners / management. My take on most Indians after over 17 years of dealing with them is that they are sly, highly superficial and miserly. It took my trusted friend to convince me that they were a different breed of Indians before I started flying Dana Air in 2011. I wished I had held on to my convictions about them, I would probably have saved my friends from untimely death.
For friends and colleagues that have asked me what assistance I require from them, my request is that we stop patronizing anything that Dana is producing / merchandising in Nigeria. These include their bottled water, cars sold through Dana Motors. I will get a full list of all their products and post on my website and Facebook page. It is high time we made these people know that they can’t buy all Nigerians. Most of them come to Nigeria hungry looking, only to amass wealth by taking advantage of the poverty and loopholes prevalent in the banking and public sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Please share this article with your friends. The truth is that power belongs to the people; let’s exercise the power we have.
God bless you.
BELOW ARE TEXTS OF THE MESSAGES FROM DANA AIR
ON-GOING RESPONSE BY DANA AIR TO THE TRAGIC ACCIDENT OF JUNE 3, 2012
Our entire management and the over 450 staff of Dana Air wish to express our profound appreciation to you for your prayers and enquiries since the tragic accident of Sunday, June 3, 2012 in which all 153 guests and crew on board Dana Air aircraft, with registration number 5N-RAM, and 4 residents of Iju-Ishaga community lost their lives.
* As operators of the aircraft, we have been in shock since the incident. We would like to first of all extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families and friends of those who lost their lives. It is so painful and we are still hurting like all households across Nigeria. We too lost friends, as well as some of our best crew, on the ill-fated flight.
* At this time, all of the senior management team of Dana Air are focused on providing assistance to the families, and also full cooperation to the authorities carrying out investigations into the cause of the accident. As yet, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has not shared with us any of the information that it has due to it being an ongoing exercise, and as a result we are limited in the facts that we can provide. However, we are doing everything within our power to ensure that the facts are thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken to ensure such a tragedy can never happen again.
* Following the incident, Standard Airline Emergency Response Procedures were initiated and an information hotline and family support centres were immediately established. Crisis Management Centres have since been set up by the airline in Lagos and Abuja to offer support and counselling to all affected, and toll-free numbers and other contact details have been circulated and announced for families to contact for information and assistance.
* On the identification and release of bodies to the families, Dana Air continues to engage with the Lagos State Government and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to expedite the process as much as possible so that families can lay their loved ones to rest. As per update from LASUTH on Friday, 22nd June, 98% of DNA samples had been sent to a UK laboratory for testing and more samples will be sent by Wednesday, 4th July. So far, 22 bodies have been properly identified and released to the families.
* While we appreciate that no amount of compensation can make up for any of the precious lives lost, the airline is fully prepared to honour its duty to the families of the departed as stipulated by the law governing tragedies such as this. To facilitate the completion of claims forms, and prompt payment of benefits to the affected families, we had established dedicated toll-free lines to the Crisis Management Centre to provide assistance. The company will continue to provide this service until all claims have been addressed and settled.
* At present, the airline has made direct contact with 119 of the 120 families who lost loved ones in the accident, and is also in contact with the 9 embassies managing communications with the families of the foreign nationals involved. These families and embassies have been sent letters of condolence and subsequent communication about the insurance documentation necessary in order to facilitate compensation payments. As at the close of business on Tuesday, July 3, the company had received completed insurance forms from 68 families (4 of which are our staff members) and cheques for interim benefits have been issued to 9 claimants, following legal verification of documentation and next of kin status. The company is in contact with all other families who have submitted relevant documents to Dana Air’s Crisis Management Centre (CMC) in Lagos and Abuja, and has advised that they come forward to the Chambers of Yomi Oshikoya & Co, appointed by the insurers in Lagos, in order to conclude advance payment formalities. Dana Air is aware and perfectly understands and respects that most of the next of kin or legal representatives who submitted documents, or are yet to visit the CMC and submit documentations to us, are still observing the customary mourning period. Advance payment claims will be concluded on a case by case basis as and when claimants find it convenient to come forward.
* Dana Air is leaving no stone unturned towards the rehabilitation of the displaced Iju-Ishaga residents. The airline had provided relief materials to all affected residents and, in conjunction with the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), had made advanced efforts towards securing accommodation for the families. On Tuesday, 3rd July, the airline presented cheques to seven severely affected families to secure accommodation, as a palliative measure. The decision to monetize the gesture was based on the request by the affected families at a meeting between them and Dana Air officials on Thursday, 28th June, 2012. The company continues to maintain contact with these families, as well as other residents who are affected in varying degrees, and has given assurances that adequate compensation will be paid to them as soon as possible; updates on steps being taken will be provided to all affected persons and/or their representatives on a regular basis.
* Once again, on behalf of everyone at Dana Air, allow us to extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this tragic accident. Our prayers and thoughts are with them forever.
* Dana Air will continue to offer the families assistance, and will provide further updates when possible.
24 hour assistance contact numbers for families are:
LAGOS: 01-2809888, 08052697500 & 08077291288.
ABUJA: 07044213849 & 07026672145.
Toll-free numbers have been opened at 0809 993 7312, 0809 993 7313, 0809 993 7314 for calls within Nigeria.
NB: We ask journalists not to call these numbers, which are reserved for families and close relatives.
Dana Air Management
PUBLIC ANNOUCEMENT FROM DANA AIR
On this 40th day of the tragic accident of Sunday, June 3, the management and the over 540 staff of Dana Air remember specially all who lost their lives in the accident, and join their families, friends and all Nigerians in praying for the repose of their souls.
Since the incident, all of the senior management team of Dana Air have been focused on providing assistance to the families, and also full cooperation to the authorities in the on-going investigations into the cause of the accident.
Dana Air shares in the pains of the affected families and continues to work with the Lagos State Government and LASUTH to expedite the process of identification and release of bodies, so that the families can lay their loved ones to rest.
In honour of our duty to the families, interim payments to the next-of-kin who have completed legal verification of their documents have commenced. We remain in contact with all the families and relatives through the Crisis Management Centres which we have established in Lagos and Abuja, and will continue to assist them in this process.
Dana Air is also working closely with LASEMA with regards to rehabilitation of the displaced Iju-Ishaga residents. Relief materials were donated and steps have been taken to provide accommodation for the severely affected residents. All efforts will be made to ensure that losses caused by the accident will be indemnified.
We recognise and appreciate the efforts of the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government, as well as all NGOs and individuals who have come forward to offer assistance and support to the families. May the good Lord bless and reward you.
Once again, on behalf of everyone at Dana Air, allow us to extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this tragic accident. Our prayers and thoughts are with them forever.
Dana Air Management