The Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday agreed to conduct a joint investigation into Sunday’s fatal Dana jet crash that killed more than 150 people. In a rare partnership, the lawmakers hope they will convey their seriousness on pressing the executive to respect their findings this time, and implement the recommendations.
Early Tuesday, federal authorities revoked Dana Air’s operations license indefinitely amid national grief that has been tinged with anger over an accident many Nigerians believe was preventable.
The decision came as the senate passed a resolution ordering the revocation of Dana’s operating license, and demanding the suspension of the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Harold Demuren.
The Dana crash is the fourth aviation accident under Mr. Demuren, a veteran Aeronautical Engineer, who has held that office since 2005.
Since Sunday, Nigerians have directed their fury at Dana and aviation authorities over likely negligence. The fatal crash has also rekindled concerns about the perennial refusal by successive governments to publish findings of past inquiries, and to punish offenders.
The Senate and the House of Representatives said on Tuesday its two aviation committees will work together and will ensure the results are acted upon by the government this time.
“We continue to make recommendations; but this time around, we must insist when we make our recommendations that the executive must act.
And it is not a matter of the presidency; the ministry and the individuals involved,” Senate president, David Mark, said after passing the resolution.
Mr. Mark said the probe must be swift and decisive to avoid “dramatization” that had helped to diminish the vigour of past investigations.
“Speedy investigation, in my opinion, is also very important. This should not drag on endlessly and then people will go and dramatize over the issue; that is not the issue. We need a technical expertise,” he said.
“And whatever our findings if they are found to be correct, people must be disciplined because there is so much forgiveness. And we must make sure that whatever the facts are, that they are brought out and that people are properly treated.”
The House of Reps on Tuesday, halved its proceedings in recognition of the people killed in the crash in the Iju area of Lagos, the victims of Boko Haram attacks on Sunday in Bauchi, as well as the plane crash in Ghana involving a Nigerian cargo jet.
A House Appropriation committee meeting with finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was also shelved.
Both chambers called for broad investigations that will also look at the national rescue process that is seen as too sluggish in its emergency response time; and that is often blamed for avoidable deaths.
“The peculiar circumstances leading to these crashes are wakeup call for all relevant authorities to rise to the challenge of ensuring that no effort is spared in making the nation’s aviation industry conform to international safety standards,” the House said in its resolution.