No fewer than 89 families of victims of the June 3, ill-fated Dana plane crash have been issued death certificates.
Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State disclosed this on Thursday while speaking to newsmen shortly after holding a closed-door meeting with some of the families at the Government House, Ikeja.
He said that those who were issued certificates were families of 141 victims whose bodies had been successfully identified so far, adding that 51 families were yet to collect the certificates.
The governor also said nine bodies were yet to be identified, explaining that the DNA samples of five were not initially supplied by their families while the remaining four could not be identified immediately.
“We have, however, taken fresh samples of the five bodies and have in fact sent them abroad.
“If that is successful, it will leave us with how to proceed with the remaining bodies because we cannot identify them,” he said.
Fashola said talks were in progress with the families on holding a memorial service to honour the victims and build a cenotaph around the crash site or any other site to immortalise them.
He praised the understanding and patience of the victims’ families, saying even in their moments of grief, they worked with the government in resolving the problem of identification of the bodies.
“The crash, though very regrettable, should make the nation ponder about all that is wrong about the aviation sector and do the right things to reposition it,” the governor said.
Speaking with newsmen, family members of some of the victims demanded a total overhaul of the aviation sector to forestall a recurrence of the mishap.
One of them, Mr Seke Somolu, urged the Ministry of Aviation to publish the findings of the investigation into the crash.
He said if the report was not published and the whole process was not made transparent, it could mean that the authorities and the airline were unwilling to inform Nigerians about the actual cause of the incident.
Somolu also queried what he described as “the hasty restoration of Dana’s operating licence”, saying, “it portrays insensitivity of what families of the victims are going through.”
Mrs Onyinye Okocha, who lost her husband to the crash, said the only thing that could provide some consolation to the families was for the government to make the country’s skies safer.
She said the country’s aviation sector was bedevilled by many problems, calling on the Federal Government to take radical steps to address the problems.
Okocha commended the Lagos State Government for the `compassionate way’ it had handled the unfortunate incident so far, and for DNA analysis of victims, which she said was highly appreciated.
Dana’s aircraft carrying 153 passengers crashed at Iju-Ishaga, a suburb of Lagos, on June 3, killing everyone on board.