The National Assembly’s joint committee investigating the aviation industry following the June 3 Dana Air crash has turned down the appeal of the Executive to postpone the investigate hearing.
The four-day public hearing was formerly inaugurated by the President of the Senate, David Mark, on Tuesday with an appeal to stakeholders to come out with facts.
Mark had denounced insinuations that the National Assembly’s probe would prejudice the outcome of the work of the Accident Investigation Bureau, arguing that while the AIB should focus on the technical investigation, the National Assembly Committee on Aviation would look at the administrative aspects and pinpoint areas of lapses in the process.
But the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, while making a presentation to the committee, said the National Assembly’s inquest should wait for the outcome of the official report of the AIB.
She said, “We wish to humbly submit, as all parties to the investigation have recommended, that it will be in the best interest of all concerned to await the official accident report.In view of the above, the Federal Ministry of Aviation wishes to urge the distinguished and honourable chairman and the joint committee to consider the postponement of this public hearing until after the AIB investigation is concluded. This will also allow the families to complete the painful process of DNA matching identification and burial of their loved ones.
“This is a painful period for our country and continued public speculation in the form of a public hearing before the official accident investigation is concluded is capable of inflaming emotions, distracting the ongoing accident investigation process and further eroding the confidence of the Nigerian flying public in the safety of the country’s aviation industry.”
Oduah had earlier briefed the committee on the actions taken by the ministry and its agencies to mitigate the pains of families of victims of the crash and other ongoing efforts.
The Senator Hope Uzodima-led committee rose for about five minutes to consider the request, and upon resumption, it insisted that the investigation would continue.
Uzodima said the investigation flowed from the resolution of both chambers of the National Assembly and would not be suspended for the AIB report.
He said, “We are talking about a tragedy that befell the country, killing about 170 people; we can’t just fold our arms and wait for the AIB to produce its report.
“We will continue with the investigation in the next four days, as the President of the Senate said; we will try to keep only to the administrative aspect of the crash and leave the technical aspect to the AIB and experts.”