The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Monday called on the Federal Government to immediately undertake a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s air travel industry.
The NLC President, Abdulwahed Omar, while commiserating with the families and friends of all the victims, said the government has no option than to take this action, pointing out that available reports had revealed that the crash could have been averted if the appropriate regulatory agencies were effective in their responsibilities.
“The airplane involved was alleged to have been faulty,” the NLC President said. Mr. Omar added that faulty nature of the airplane was said to have been to the knowledge of the management of the airline.
“We urge the Federal Government to urgently overhaul the aviation industry, review the licenses of all airlines operating in Nigeria, including foreign airlines, conduct proper checks on the airworthiness of all the aircrafts before renewing the licenses of all the airlines,” he said.
“Federal Government should also put in place a policy of pegging the age of aircrafts operating in Nigerian airspace. We believe the safety of all air travellers in Nigeria should be paramount to the regulatory agencies as well as the airlines that seem to have placed their priority only on profit and not safety,” he said.
Specifically, the organised labour urged the government to undertake a thorough, transparent and far reaching investigation of this particular crash pointing out that government should not wait for the monumental disaster to recur before taking steps to protect the lives of all categories of air travellers within the Nigerian airspace as no one is exempted from the dangers the air industry portend.
The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio commiserated with Nigerians over the sad incident. He said that he recently warned the management of the airline on the need to ensure the air-worthiness of the aircrafts on its fleet.
The governor, who spoke through the state Commissioner for Information, Aniekan Umanah, said he warned the Dana Airline’s management in a recent telephone chat not to endanger the lives of Nigerians.
Mr. Umana said the governor’s warning followed a near fatal mishap involving a Dana flight from Uyo, the state capital, to Lagos, as a result of a technical problem that forced the aircraft to hover in the skies for more than an hour on arrival in Lagos before finally braving a dangerous landing.
The governor, who described the Sunday afternoon crash as a “national calamity that calls for more stringent safety measures in the aviation sector”, said the relevant regulatory agencies should ensure that airline operators adhered strictly to global aviation operational standards to avoid a repeat of the sad incident.
“Airline operators in the country must not experiment with people’s lives,” he said. “They must ensure that they complied with acceptable international standards in their operations, because similar negligence in the past had caused serial air disasters, thereby resulting in massive loss of lives and the extinction of affected airlines.”