Dana crash: Coroner to summon aviation minister, don

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Stella-Oduah-Ogiemwonyi

Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, has to appear before a Lagos coroner court to answer questions over the June 3, 2012 crash of a Dana Air’s plane in Iju-Ishaga area of the state, which killed the 153 persons on board and others on the ground.

The coroner presiding over an inquest into the crash, Mr. Oyetade Komolafe, on Thursday directed that witness summons be served on Oduah as well as on Kunbi Banjo, a professor of anatomical pathology at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

Banjo had consulted for the Accident Investigation Bureau to conduct medical examination on victims of certain air accidents in the past.

Komolafe said, “Let the minister of aviation come and see what we are doing here and when she comes, we will have some questions for her.”

The coroner said Oduah was free to choose from the May 20 to 24 dates already fixed by the court for further hearing.

AIB’s counsel, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, had earlier made a case for Banjo to be allowed to testify at the inquest.

Irukera said the testimony of the pathologist would assist the coroner come to a just and meaningful conclusion of the inquest.

He said Banjo, with her experience of post-air crash investigation, was not allowed to participate in the autopsy carried out on the bodies of the victims.

The coroner had, earlier in March, turned down AIB’s request to call Banjo to testify. The coroner had said AIB had earlier had several opportunities to call on any witness of its choice.

The Bureau had insisted that Banjo needed to refute certain claims earlier made by the Lagos State Chief Medical Examiner and Consultant Pathologist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. John Obafunwa, during his testimony before the court.

But Komolafe, in reversing his decision on Thursday, said he would allow Banjo to testify in the interest of fair hearing.

Banjo is to appear before the inquest on May 22.

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