The management of Dana Air on Thursday said it has commenced the final payment of 70,000 dollars (about N10.5 million) to families of each of the victims of its June 3 Lagos air crash.
Mr Tony Usidamen, Head of Corporate Communications, Dana Air, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
It will be recalled that a Dana air flight from Abuja to Lagos crashed on June 3 at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos, killing all 153 persons aboard, and some others on the ground.
Usidamen explained that 70,000 dollars was being paid to each of the families of the victims by Prestige Assurance Ltd., Insurer of Dana Air.
“The final payment is necessary after the advance payments of 30,000 dollars (about N4.7 million) to over 80 families,” he said.
Usidamen noted that the Civil Aviation Act stipulated that the sum of 100,000 U.S. dollars, about N15 million, be paid as compensation to families of victims of air disasters.
“Following receipt of Letter of Authentication from the Probate Registry, our insurer has begun balance payment of 70,000 U.S. dollars to affected families.
“Only four other families have so far, presented the requisite Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration, and payment will shortly be made to them too.
“In order to assess and verify full compensation, it is necessary for claimants to produce the required Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration,” he said.
Usidamen noted that the letter should be authenticated by the Probate Registry before the final payment.
“This is a customary procedure to ensure that just compensation is paid to the right next-of-kin.
“Dana Air has no control over the speed with which the Probate Registry deals with the verification process, although maximum pressure is being exerted to expedite this.
“Also, in the case of minors, a Letter of Guardianship has to be produced by the parent or guardian in order to access full payment.
“Again, this is not a pre-condition given by Dana Air or its insurer, but it is a standard legal requirement to ensure that due compensation is paid only to those who have entitlement,” he said.
He said that the airline's management appreciated how difficult the period was for all the victims’ families.
“We are also aware of the challenges the families are facing in getting the required legal documents for accessing the final payments. We share in the pain of all the affected families.
“And we wish to restate the readiness of our insurer to settle all claims in accordance with the law and available evidence, at the earliest opportunity,” Usidamen said.
He reaffirmed that the airline would continue to work with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant authorities to assist the families in every way possible.
He noted that the Lagos State Government has promised to fast-track the process of obtaining Letters of Administration from the Probate Registry.