According to Punch newspapers, indications emerged on Saturday that the Presidency and Ministry of Aviation might soon give approval to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) to release the long -awaited Bellview Airlines and ADC Airlines’ crash reports to the public. Impeccable sources at the Ministry of Aviation Abuja disclosed that AIB had submitted a fresh report of the Bellview crash to the Presidency and the Ministry over a month ago.
Sources in the ministry and the Presidency however, said that the submitted version was slightly different from the one the air accident investigation agency had submitted to the ministry and Presidency along with the ADC Airlines crash report, as well as four other minor accident reports in June last year. However, following allegations that the report was doctored by some officials in the aviation sector, the Presidency and the Ministry had delayed its release. Investigation by Punch newspaper’s correspondent revealed that the head of an aviation agency, who is no longer in the system, was quizzed by operatives of the State Security Service over the allegation. It was further learnt that a report by the SSS over the matter further made the Presidency and the Ministry to delay the release of the report. However, the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, during the public hearing on the Dana Air crash at the National Assembly, was pressurised by the lawmakers to release the Bellview and ADC crash reports.
The development forced the ministry of aviation and AIB to start the process of amending areas they believed a former head of an aviation agency had allegedly doctored. However, sources at the Ministry revealed that some aviation officials who wrote the latest version of the Bellview report included areas where some stakeholders allegedly violated certain aviation rules. This, it was said, was probably the area of contention in the former report. However, following the submission of the latest version to the Ministry, our correspondent gathered that the minister might give the AIB Commissioner, Captain Muktar Usman, the approval to release the Bellview Airlines’ crash report soon.
This, it was learnt, would be released along with the ADC crash report and the other four minor reports submitted to the Ministry last year. When contacted, the Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Mr Toyin Okpaise, said the Minister was outside the country for the Aviation Investors Road Show. Consequently, he said he would be in a position to comment on whether the Ministry had received the report or not when the minister comes back from her foreign trip next week. A text message sent to the Presidential Spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, over the development, was not responded to as at the time of filing in this report.
Bellview Airlines’ Flight 210 crashed en route to Abuja killing all 117 passengers on board in October 2005. Also, in 2006, the ADC Airlines’ plane which left Abuja for Sokoto crashed shortly after take off, killing a former Sultan of Sokoto and scores of people.
So when will the report for the Dana air crash be released? 2018? Well, that is only if the Ministry of Aviation is pressurized?