Dana Air Inquest: Officials In Contempt Failing To Appear In Court


The coroner at the inquest into the cause of the crash of a Dana Air plane, last year on  Friday, vented his anger at the airline’s representative after their witnesses failed to attend for the umpteenth time.

Coroner Komolafe Oyetade had ordered John Obafunwa, Chief Medical Examiner at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital; and Oscar Wilson, Dana Air’s Director of Flight Operations, to re-appear before him.

The inquest had been adjourned on two previous occasions for the duo to appear for a fresh round of cross-examination.

While Professor Obafunwa appeared, last week, to reveal fresh findings and submit records of the post-mortem examination conducted on the corpses; Mr. Wilson, a Captain, was absent.

And on Friday, Mr. Wilson, who did the last operational flight before the crash, also failed to turn up.

Mr. Oyetade berated the airline for “showing signs of unseriousness.”

“It is for his (Mr. Wilson’s) own interest. He is not doing us a favour,” the coroner said.

“He does not own Nigeria. We won’t wait for him. I want to say that nobody is greater than the law. You better advise him properly,” Mr. Oyetade added.

Funmilayo Ogunnusi, a representative of Dana Air, pleaded for more time for the director to appear.

“Mr. Wilson is outside the country so the hearing notice could not be served on him,” said Ms. Ogunnusi.

Prof. Obafunwa was also slated to appear on Friday for further cross-examination.

Akinjide Bakare, counsel to the Lagos State government, asked the coroner for a “stand down” as the medical examiner would be late.

“He (Prof. Obafunwa) told me that the Senator representing Lagos Central is coming to visit LASU (Lagos State University) today. It was on a short notice,” Mr. Bakare said.

Other witnesses billed to appear, with their final reports, include the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, National Emergency Management Agency, as well as the Lagos State Fire Service.

Mr. Oyetade, while adjourning till February 8, ordered that witness summons, and no longer hearing notices, be served on all the parties.

“I want everything ended by February. After the sitting on the 8th, we’d talk about filing in our written addresses and recommendations,” the coroner added.

While testifying last week, Prof. Obafunwa stated that the bodies of the pilot, co-pilot, and nine passengers of the ill fated Dana plane were “possibly” completely incinerated during the incident.

-Frontier News