The Nigerian civil society group Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a petition to the anti-graft Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) urging it to probe alleged corruption in the country’s transport sector, following Sunday’s plane crash that killed over 150 people.
In a statement obtained by PANA here Monday, SERAP urged ICPC to “urgently begin a thorough and efficient investigation into allegations of corruption in the transport and aviation sector, starting from the allegations that the Nigerian Ministry of Aviation may have allowed the registration of the Dana plane which crashed in Lagos on Sunday June 3, 2012 despite reports that the plane was purchased with known pre-existing safety issues and past safety concerns record.”
SERAP said it is seriously concerned that ”this is not the first time an air mishap has claimed a large number of people primarily because of the systemic corruption in the aviation sector and the lack of due diligence or complicity of the regulatory authorities in allowing the registration and operation of aircraft with safety concerns.”
The organization also expressed “concern that pervasive corruption is also responsible for the failure to provide immediate emergency response system that could have helped to reduce the casualties of the Dana airline crash, as our information reveals that the aircraft exploded about 20 minutes after the crash.”
It therefore asked the ICPC to carry out a comprehensive and transparent investigation of allegations of corruption in the transport and aviation sector and to make public its findings; Bring to justice all suspected perpetrators of corruption in the transport sector; Vigorously persuade policy makers and political leaders to establish Trust Funds for victims of corruption in the transport sector, and ensure that the said funds are used to secure appropriate remedies to the families of the victims
“The Dana Air McDonnell Douglas MD 83 has a well- known history of worrying defaults even before original owners US-based Alaska Airlines sold it to Dana Airlines on February 17, 2009. The aircraft was acquired by Alaska Airline in November 13, 1990 with registration number N944AS.
”However, on November 4, 2002 the aircraft developed fault and had emergency diversion due to smoke and electrical smell in the cabin area, which engineers said was because light ballast had over-heated. Four years after, the aircraft’s health was also called to question when on August 20, 2006, it was again evacuated after landing at the Long Beach, CA due to a chaffed wire bundle that discharged and produced smoke in the cabin area again,” SERAP claimed.