Falana favours "fair and just" compensation for crash victims

Lagos attorney and radical litigant, Femi Falana, said Sunday in Lagos that the Management of Dana Airline owes dependants of passengers killed in the June 3 crash well over the $100,000 compensation announced by the airline.

“The said sum of $100,000 is the first tier payment otherwise known as Special Drawing Right under Article 17 of the Montreal Convention. It is not an extra payment but a strict liability amount payable under the Convention which has been domesticated in Nigeria,” declared Mr. Falana in a statement released from his offices.

He said “The dependants of the deceased are also entitled to special and general damages which may not be less than N100 million per passenger depending on the responsibilities borne by each of them in their lifetime” and explained that this will represent “money for loss of expectation” which, according to him,  “is payable by Dana Airline for gross negligence arising from the plane with defective dual engines and the Federal Government for failure to enforce the relevant regulations, failure to provide emergency landing for the plane and the inexplicable delay in providing the fire service equipment and medical services and other acts of  gross negligence which led to the avoidable death of the passengers and the crew.”

The dependants of the members of the public who were killed at the site of the crash, according to Mr. Falana, are equally entitled to a greater amount of compensatory damages because the “deprivation of the fundamental right to life of such persons is illegal and unconstitutional.”

The same will be true, remarked the lawyer, with respect to “owners and tenants of the houses that were burnt or touched by the fire that gutted the aircraft are entitled to have them rebuilt or replaced by Dana Airline and the Federal Government.”

Mr Falana claimed that he has “confirmed that the provision of dehumanising accommodation for them in dormitories at a refugee camp at Agege in the outskirts of Lagos has increased the mental and psychological trauma unleashed on such innocent victims” querying that “If the accident had occurred in Ikoyi or Victoria Island would the Lagos State Government have taken the victims to a refugee camp at Agege?”

“As the occupants are entitled to have their houses rebuilt they should not be kept in transit camps but in hotels or decent houses whose expenses should be borne by Dana Airline and the Federal Government. In other countries passengers whose flights are cancelled are always lodged in hotels by defaulting airlines” Mr Falana maintained.

Mr. Falana disclosed that he has requested the Lagos State Chief Coroner to set up an inquest into the tragic crash and that his legal office “shall press for payment of adequate reparation to all the families of the crash victims by the Federal Government and Dana Airline.”


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