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Displaced crash victims reject interim compensation

04 July 2012, 10:07

Lagos - Some of the 38 displaced victims of  the June 3, Iju-Ishaga Dana plane crashon Tuesday rejected cheques issued them by the airline to take care of their accommodation.

Four of the victims caused a stir at the Ipaja Relief Camp, venue of the cheque presentation meeting, when they refused to take the cheques presented to them by Mr Oscar Watson, Dana’s Director of Flight Operations.

Mr  Tony Usidame, Dana’s Head  of Corporate Affairs, had said at the meeting that the cheques for sums ranging from N100,000 to N500,000 were an interim compensation  to provide succour  for the victims.

He said that the airline, through  its insurance  company, would soon provide  comprehensive compensations for occupants of the two buildings destroyed by the plane.

But Mr Gbenga Eguntola, a lawyer and  aviation consultant, who led the four  displaced persons to the meeting, said  they acted on his advice by refusing to collect the cheques.

Eguntola said what the airline offered the victims was very insignificant, adding that the firm was trying  to shortchange the victims and avoid paying  them full compensations.

``As I am speaking with you,  I have about 10 clients that have no roof over their heads. That means if they are asked  to  leave the camp provided for them by the state government, they have no place to go.

``What we are saying is that Dana has to take responsibility, they cannot pretend not to know that they are supposed to compensate for the dead and also those whose homes were destroyed by the crash.

``So, this idea of coming to give the victims peanuts is not acceptable to us. We want them to follow the normal procedure and give the victims full compensation. This is nothing but a jamboree.,'' he said.

A mild-drama later ensued after the meeting when Miss Abidemi Adebayo and Mr Sepaye Hezekaih, two victims, who had earlier rejected their cheques, abandoned Eguntola and demanded their cheques from Dana officials.

The company officials quickly arranged  a short presentation ceremony and handed them their money.

``Yes, Eguntola  is my lawyer but  I do not need his services anymore . Initially, I agreed with him to speak for me but I changed my mind later because I felt I needed money.

``Right now, I don`t  have a place I am staying. I am tired of squatting with  friends. The lawyer never paid my rents for me in the first place. I think I need my money.

Hezekiah, a student of the Osun State Polytechnic,Esa –Oke, and a former resident of 7 Olaniyi Street, Iju-Ishaga, said that  he changed his mind  because he  needed money to  go back to school .

``I want to go back to school. I don’t want to comment on the lawyer. I agreed with him to stand for me initially but now I  have changed my mind. I need money,'' he said.

But Mr  Daniel Idika, one of the  victims, who collected a cheque  at the  meeting, said he agreed to collect the money  to sort out his temporary accommodation problem.

``Dana has said this is  just a palliative, that full compensation is still coming. I believe them, that was why I never rejected the cheque in the first place.

``Even though the N200,000 they have offered me is not enough to get a new apartment, I think it`s better than nothing. I need an accommodation fast and I think this will help,', he said.

Mr Femi-Oke Osanyintolu, General Manager of  the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, who  coordinated the meeting,  said the government would continue to work with Dana to provide more reliefs for the displaced persons. 



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