By Jimmy Lace, Warri

An air plane of Dana Airline

An air plane of Dana Airline

A civil society group, the Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC) has implored President Goodluck Jonathan to ban Dana Airline completely from operating in the country, describing the Sunday plane crash as a ‘clear genocide’ that must not repeat itself again.

The group while welcoming the suspension of Dana’s operating license by the Federal Government urged the President to go a step further by banning the operation of the Airline totally in the country and threatened to mobilize thousands of youths across the country to stage protest in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt International Airports to press home their demand and also go to court to restrain the operations of the Airline.

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It was a black Sunday for Nigerians on June 3, 2012 when Dana Aircraft crashed in Lagos killing the Group Corporate Affairs General Manager of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, three Generals, 166 others, and other innocent Nigerians were also killed in their homes.

Reacting to the sad incident, the group in a press statement signed by its President, (Nelly Emma), Secretary (John Sailor) and Public Relations Officer (Mukoro Stanley), condemned the Dana Aircraft crash and called on President Jonathan not only to suspend the operation of the Airline, but to ban its operations totally in the country, describing the Sunday crash as one too many.

Rubbles of the crashed Dana air plane in Lagos

Rubbles of the crashed Dana air plane in Lagos

While lamenting over the incident, the group said; “We are saddened over the plane crash of Sunday, June 3, 2012 where we lost 169 souls, this is one crash too many. The Oil and Gas Industry in the country was robbed of Dr Levi Ajuonuma and other promising Nigerians. The Oil and Gas Sector can never be the same again now that Dr. Levi Ajuonuma is gone. Our hearts go out to the families of all the victims of the genocide caused by Dana Airline.”

“We are using this medium to implore President Jonathan to order full investigation into the unfortunate incident; the Federal Government should send Dana Airline out of business in the country to serve others a good lesson. Airline operators should stop causing the death of innocent Nigerians and other air travelers, enough is enough. The operational license of Dana Airline must be withdrawn by the Federal Government and other Airline operators must be made to do the right thing; they should quit if they are not ready for business. We cannot afford another air disaster hence we are calling on the President to act fast now as we do not know who will be the next victim of plane crash in the country,” the group wrote.

The group added that; “Apart from ordering a full investigation into the sad incident, the Federal Government should take immediate steps to terminate the operation of Dana Airline before it terminates more lives as it has brought untold hardship, tears, pains and sorrow to many homes and this should not be allowed to repeat itself again. Never again, must this genocide happen to us. The Airline must not be allowed to operate again in Nigeria. Our demand from the Federal Government is a simple one, but if it is not met, we will mobilize thousands of youths across the country to storm major international airports in the country for a mass protest against Dana Airline and we will also go to court to restrain Dana Airline from operating in the country. Enough of using Nigeria as a dumping ground for out-dated planes.”

Some victims of the Dana airplane crsh in Lagos

Some victims of the Dana airplane crash in Lagos

According to the group, “Our findings have revealed that the doomed aircraft first flew 22 years ago, Dana bought it in 2009, the aircraft was too old to fly, yet Dana Airline allowed it to continue to operate and now it has killed innocent souls; this genocide committed by the operators of Dana Airline is unacceptable and the Federal Government must ban its operation now, what happened on that black Sunday was a clear genocide.”

“Our checks also showed that on May 10, 2012, the same aircraft with 85 passengers, coming from Uyo to Lagos, made an emergency landing at the international runway, known as 19 Right, of the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, owing to loss of hydraulic. We understand that the Akwa-Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio recently warned the Managing Director of Dana Airline on the need to ensure its aircrafts are air worthy, but nobody listened,” the group wrote.

It added that; “And then came the final straw. On June 3, 2012, the same MD-83 with Registration number 5N-RAM was performing a flight 9T-1993 from Lagos to Abuja with 153 passengers on board when the crew also discovered that the engine had developed fault. The Pilot made a quick air return to Lagos. But while on a final appraisal to the runway 16L, the aircraft rammed into a power line, crashed into a build-up area about 5-6mn from touch down and burst into flames, killing all passengers on board. We are sad over this preventable incident. Grounding of the operations of the Airline is not enough, the federal government must halt its operations forever, and otherwise we will storm major Airports such as Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt to register our protest”