By UCHE USIM
Dana Air has begun paying $70,000 balance to families of victims who perished in the crash of June 3, this year. According to the airline’s spokesman, Tony Usidamen, its insurers commenced the payment yesterday. The airline had earlier made advance payments of USD 30,000 to over 80 families.
The Civil Aviation Act stipulates that the sum of USD 100,000 be paid as compensation to families of victims of air disasters. Usidamen further said: “Following receipt of Letter of Authentification from the Probate Registry, our insurers have begun balance payment of USD 70,000 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.”
Usidamen explained that to assess and verify full compensation due and payable, it was necessary for claimants to produce the required Grants of Probate or Letters of Administration which would then have to be authenticated by the Probate Registry. “This is a customary procedure to ensure that just compensation is only 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 to access full payment. Again, this is not a pre-condition given by Dana Air or its insurers but a standard legal requirement to ensure that due compensation is paid only to those who have entitlement.” Said Usidamen: “We appreciate how difficult this period is for all the families and are also aware of the challenges they are facing in getting the required legal documents for accessing the final payments.
We, however, want to offer our assurances that they are not alone in the process and we will continue to work with the NCAA and other relevant authorities to assist them in every way possible. The Lagos State Government has promised to fast-track the process of obtaining the Letters of Administration from the Probate Registry.” .