Our Weather Forecasts Are More Accurate – DG, NIMET

Director General of the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) Anthony Anuforom has declared that his organization has become more accurate in predicting weather situations in Nigeria since its acquisition of new equipment.

Speaking on ‘Sunrise Daily’, Mr. Anuforom referred to the devastating floods that swept through Northern Nigeria in 2012. “If you want us to talk about that flood of last year, we gave the prediction as early as February 15th and then by July, August September the predictions came true”.

He further said “we even wrote to state governments informing them that this is what we have found out. So we are a lot more accurate than ever before and these are all manifestations of the fact that we are better equipped and we are better prepared in terms of manpower”.

Quoting the National Transportation Safety Board of US estimate that 30% – 35% of all aviation accidents globally are weather related, he admitted the importance of his organization to past air crashes that have occurred in Nigeria.

He informed of his organization’s breakthrough in the field of numerical weather prediction. He said the NIMET can now tell with better precision that rain will fall in specific locations with precision on weather differences within even close locations.

He further shed light on the operations of his agency in relation with the roles of the government and the activities of other agencies in the aviation sector.

Minister Promises Compensation For ‘’Verified” Dana Air Crash Relatives

The federal government has promised to ensure the payment of compensation to all verified relations of victims of Dana air crash within the shortest possible time.

The Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah made the promise at an event to commence the aviation safety week in Abuja.
She  said a time frame has been given to the airline to ensure that it complies with  regulations guiding compensation for victims of air incidences.

Speaking on the transformation in the aviation sector the minister said  a Passenger Passage Bill has been drafted to give passenger more powers to question an operator when they feel their safety are being jeopardized.

Officials of agencies under the aviation sector also gave score cards of some of the reforms that have taken place in the sector to ensure a safer sky for Nigerians to fly.

A one minute silence was observed for the victims of the Dana air crash.

The Ministry also says it is working hard to ensure better service delivery and safer sky in the Nigerian aviation industry

Jonathan Unveils Cenotaph For Dana Air Crash In Abuja

The federal government has promised to do everything humanly possible to ensure that the Nigerian airspace is safe for everyone.

President Goodluck Jonathan made this known while speaking at the local wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja at a remembrance service and unveiling of a memorial cenotaph in honour of the 153 victims of Dana air crash which occurred in Lagos a year ago, killing 153 people.

The President said that his administration set up the panel to not only unravel the cause of the disaster but also work out modalities on how to take care of the families of the victims.

He expressed regret about the delay in compensating family members of the crash victims.

According to him the cenotaph symbolizes federal government’s resolve to nip such incident in the bud.

President Jonathan called on Nigerians and airline operators to be vigilant at all times to avoid a repeat of such calamity.

He also promised to build an aviation sector that all Nigerians can trust.

Jonathan Nominates Akinkuotu As Demuren’s Replacement

Following the removal of the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Harold Demuren, President Goodluck Jonathan has nominated, the rector of Ilorin College of Aviation, Kwara state, Fola Akinkuotu to take over the helm of the agency.

The rector of Ilorin College of Aviation, Kwara state, Fola Akinkuotu

In a letter to the Senate, President Jonathan asked the lawmakers to approve the confirmation of appointment of Mr Akinkuotu as the DG of NCAA.

According to a statement released by the Federal Government, Mr Demuren was sacked for failing to give a “satisfactory response” to stakeholders in the aviation sector.

The three paragraph statement read: “Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has approved the removal of Dr. Harold Olusegun Demuren from office as the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) with effect from 12th March 2013.

“This is consequent upon a careful consideration of Dr. Demuren’s unsatisfactory response to the numerous concerns of stakeholders in the aviation sector.”

Following the Dana Air crash in June last year, the National Assembly had launched into a probe of the aviation sector.

The investigation by both chambers of parliament had unearthed the rot in the sector and blamed Mr Demuren for turning a blind eye to the underhand dealings in the sector and compromising safety.

This led to the insistence by the House of Representatives for his sack.

The Senate had also confirmed the reappointment of Suleiman Barau as the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

FG Sacks NCAA Boss

The curtain has finally fallen for the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Dr Harold Demuren, who on Monday was fired by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The President approved the removal of Dr Demuren with immediate effect from the 11th of March.

The dismissal of the aviation expert was announced in a three-paragraph statement from the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, Mr Anyim Pius Anyim.

“Consequent to a careful consideration of Dr. Demuren’s unsatisfactory response to numerous concerns of stakeholders in the aviation sector, the federal government has decided to remove him” the statement read.

Presidency has been under immense pressure from the National Assembly to sack the NCAA boss over the handling of the Dana Air crash investigation.

The House of Representatives had in its recommendation following the Dana Air Crash approved that Dr Demuren, should be prosecuted for criminal negligence amidst other recommendations.

 The former NCAA boss is an Aeronautical Engineer and was appointed the Director General of theNCAA in December 2005.

Dana Air Crash: Bodies Of Pilot and Co-Pilot Not Found

The bodies of the two pilots of the crashed Dana Air’s MD-83 Plane which crashed and claimed the lives of 153 passengers were not found at the site of the crash as they were completely incinerated by the post-crash inferno.

153 body bags were recovered from the site of the Dana Crash of the 3rd of June, 2012. Of that figure, the Pathologists conducting an inquest into the cause of the crash were able to identify the bodies of 148 persons.

These details were given in court on Friday when the Chief Medical Examiner and Consultant Pathologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof. John Obafunwa, testified before a Coroner Court sitting at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

The American Pilot, Mr. Peter Waxtan, 55, and his Indian Co-Pilot, Mr. Mahendra Rathore, 34, whose bodies were not found were among the 153 persons aboard the plane and other persons on the ground, were killed in the crash.

Prof Obafunwa, who along with other experts conducted series of postmortem tests on the bodies recovered from the crash site, said a total of nine persons among the 153 persons aboard the plane could not be identified.

He said the team of experts could not identify the bodies of the Pilot and the Co-Pilot after exhaustive deliberation and consultation.

“Bodies of other crew members were however identified.”

He said apart from Waxtan, and Rathore, who were certain to be on the plane, the other seven names of passengers on the manifest whose bodies were not found, might actually not have boarded the plane.

The consultant testified that “it is either these individuals were not on board the plane or some other passengers used their names to get on board.

“It is also possible some of them were completely incinerated” he added.

According to Prof Obafunwa, among the 148 bodies identified with their names, three of them were identified through the DNA analysis carried out in the United Kingdom and the three were discovered to be among the bodies of those who died on the ground.

Bags of body parts

Led in evidence by the counsel for the state’s Attorney General, Mr Akinjide Bakare, the pathologist said three unidentified bodies were still being kept in the mortuary

He said among the 153 body bags received by his team, two among the bags contained different parts of the body of the same person.

The pathologist also tendered in court the final report of the series of tests carried out on the bodies.

The autopsy reports on the 148 identified bodies with their names and 170 CDs of images also formed part of documents admitted as exhibits at Friday’s proceedings.

The images in the CDs, part of which were shown during the proceedings contained the X-rays, dental structure, bodies of the identified victims and bone samples of some of the victims.

Prof Obafunwa said two-thirds of the bodies removed were burnt beyond recognition, some suffered “heat fracture”, a situation whereby some limbs were completely burnt out, and some were decapitated.

Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe has adjourned till January 25 for lawyers representing Dana Air and other parties to cross-examine the Pathologist.

Reps To Investigate Resumption of Dana Flight

The House of Representatives committee on aviation on Monday said it will look into the resumption of flights by Dana airline despite its recommendation that airline’s air operating certificate be revoked.

In a statement issued by the Chairman of the committee, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, the committee said all issues relating to the crash has not been resolved, including issues of compensation to victims, and air safety issues.

The committee said it is aware of the displeasure and concerns of Nigerians over the resumption of flights by Dana airline and appealed to Nigerians to be patient as the house of representatives is committed to the safety of the country ‘s airspace.

It would be recalled that Dana airline on 4 January 2013 resumed flights seven months, after one of its planes crashed near Lagos on 3 June, killing 163 passengers.

Dana Air Resumes Lagos to Abuja Flight at N11,799

Dana Air; banned from flying after one of its flights crashed and killed 153 people last year, resumed flights on Friday, selling its online ticket for the Lagos-Abuja flight at almost half the price of other airlines.

The renewed flight; Dana Air Flight 9J353 left the Murtala Muhammed Airport II in Lagos, a few minutes after 10am and landed in Abuja at 11.05am with celebrities, journalists amongst its passengers.

The passengers gave a loud cheer and applause as the flight landed Abuja safely on Friday.

Tickets for the resumed flights were sold at half the price of normal flights charged by other airlines.

A one-way ticket to Abuja from Lagos was sold at N11,799 when other airlines charge about N25,000.

The resumption of the flight comes amidst criticisms and the call by the House of Representatives for a revocation of the airline’s licence, a few months after aviation authorities restored the licence.

Meanwhile the spokesperson of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr Sam Adurogboye, has stated that the airline is now fit to fly following a rigorous five step re-certification process.

Dana Air’s McDonnell Douglas MD-83 crashed into an apartment block in a densely populated suburb of Iju Ishaga in Lagos on June 3, killing everyone on board and 10 people on the ground.

The airline which was banned from flying after the crash resumed operations with its five remaining MD-83s, starting with a flight from Lagos to Abuja on Friday.

The Federal Government lifted the ban on the airline in September while investigation was on-going on the crash.

House Demands Revocation Of Dana Air’s Licence

The House of Representatives has called for the revocation of the operating licence of the Dana airlines and it renewed its call for the dismissal of the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr Harold Demuren from service.

These are part of the decisions taken by the House after it considered the report of the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Aviation which probed the Dana crash that claimed the lives of almost 160 people earlier in the year.

The airline that lost its right to the Nigerian airspace following the June crash, but the Federal Government lifted the suspension in September.

The House also approved that Mr Demuren, should also be prosecuted for criminal negligence.

Other recommendations made by the lower arm of the parliament was that all MD83 aircrafts should be completely phased out of Nigeria aviation industry as NCAA has no certified engineer in country to handle it’s maintenance.

In a bid to check further air disasters, the House demanded that an age limit of not more than 15 years should be placed for acquisition of any passenger aircraft and 20 years for cargo aircraft.

FAAN names Dana Airline as best domestic airline in Nigeria

Despite an air crash that claimed the lives of 153 people four months ago, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over the weekend named Dana Air as the best domestic carrier for 2011.

According to FAAN’s Regional General Manager, Mr. Chris Bature, said the airline is yet to commence flights since the crash but was awarded the prize for its good customer relations and prompt payment of dues.

The Federal Government seized Dana Air’s license following the air disaster, but restored the license 93 days after the crash.

Speaking at the occasion, Bature stated that the airline was selected because of its outstanding performance and punctuality while Lufthansa Airlines was also selected as the best international carrier for the same period.

He explained that “mode of selection includes passenger capacity, frequency of the landing and take-off, their response to payment of bills.”

“Among the domestic carriers, they were the best. They had the best volume; they were punctual in their operations” he added.

Reacting to a question on the timing of the award which is coming four months after the June 3 Dana Air crash, Mr Bature explained that the award would have taken place earlier in the year and that the reward came after the operator’s license had been restored.

“In all fairness, they did their best and we need to recognize that and encourage them to get back to their feet,” he added.

Dana’s Station Manager at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport in Abuja, Mr. Kayode Adeniran, stated that the airline’s commitment to best customer service and timely departure earned its the award.

“We have this policy in our company that we must not delay passengers, we have introduced another type of system. If your flight is delayed by 40 minutes, we give refreshments to all passengers that already had their boarding passes. So people will be impressed by our service” he said.

He however lamented the loss of lives by the crash, stressing that the operator visited and commiserated with the families of the deceased.

To prevent such a recurrence, the station manager revealed that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has embarked on series of investigation to ascertain when the airline would be allowed to commence operations following the lifting of the ban on the airline by the federal government.

He noted that the airline has commenced demonstration flights as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and that the operation would run until NCAA certifies the carrier fit to resume full operations.

The Dana Air crash on June 3, killed the entire 153 passengers and crew members on board and a number of people as the plane crashed into a densely populated area of Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos state. A number of buildings were also destroyed by the crash.



Court strikes out suit seeking to halt inquest into Dana Air crash

A Federal High Court Judge, Lagos has vacated the interim order which suspended the proceedings of a coroner’s inquest into the crash of Dana Air plane in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos State earlier in the year.

The presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling on Friday, also struck out an application for interlocutory injunction seeking to stop the proceedings of the inquest pending the hearing of the substantive suit.

The Judge noted that the issues raised in support and against the application for interlocutory injunction were “substantially the same” and as such granting it would amount to impinging on the substance of the substantive suit.

The plaintiffs, a non-governmental organisation, the Civil Aviation Round Table Initiative and its President, Captain Dele Ore, challenged the powers of the coroner to conduct any inquest into the cause of the plane crash.

The judge had, on August 28 with the consent of the counsel of all the parties in the suit, granted the interim order to put the proceedings of the inquest on hold pending the hearing of the application for injunction.

In his ruling on the application on Friday, Justice Abang struck out the application and discharged the interim order.

“I could not agree with the learned counsel for the plaintiff, Collins Ogbonna, that the refusal of the application will foist on the court a situation of fait accompli” Justice Abang stated.

“This is because if the plaintiffs at the end of the day succeed in their claim, all the steps taken by the 1st to 4th defendants will set aside and accordingly nullified.

He therefore ruled that the “accelerated hearing of the suit is hereby ordered”, adding that “the interim order I made on August 28 is hereby discharged and is accordingly vacated.”

According to Justice Abang, “the issues raised by the parties for and in opposition in the application for interlocutory injunction are substantially the same issues raised by the parties in support and in opposition in the main originating summons.”

“If I decide on the issue raised by the plaintiffs now, the court would have decided the main matter in an interlocutory application without hearing all the parties in the suit.”

He also awarded the cost of N10,000 against the applicants, in favour of the 1st to 4th defendants who had opposed the application.

The 1st to 4th defendants who opposed the application are the coroner presiding over the inquest, Mr. Oyetade Komolafe, the Lagos State Chief Coroner, the state Chief Judge, and the Attorney-General of the state.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, the Ministry of Aviation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Accident Investigation Bureau, the Nigeria Airspace Management Authority, and Dana Air are the 5th to 10th defendants.

Dana, a defendant in the suit, had filed an affidavit in support of the plaintiff’s application, a development which Abang described as “novel”.

Abang, who had admitted the affidavit after overruling counsel for the 1st to 4th, Mr. Akinjide Bakare, disregarded the affidavit in his ruling holding that “there is no provision in the rules of this court that allows the defendant to use such affidavit.”

He adjourned till October for the hearing of pending applications for joinder as parties in the suit.

The burial of Late Levi Ajuonuma

The body of former Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, late Dr Levi Ajuonuma has been laid to rest in his home in Imo state.

The solemn burial rites commenced three months after his death with a Service of Songs at the Harbour Point, Lagos.

The very emotional event was attended by members of his family, colleagues from NNPC and the media. He was interned at his residence in Imo amidst tears and sorrow of the entire community.

Prior to his appointment with NNPC, Dr Ajuonuma was an astute broadcaster with strings of programmes on television and radio, such as the Levi Ajuonuma Live, The Sunday Show, ShowTime on NTA Network and other programmes.

Dr Ajuonuma lost his life with 152 others during the unfortunate Dana Air crash on June 3rd, 2012, which crashed into a residential building in densely populated area of Iju Ishaga, in Lagos State.

He is survived by his wife and eight children.