Judgment was stalled yesterday on a suit by the family of former Ondo State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, the late Deji Falae.
The deceased’s family is praying the Federal High Court in Lagos to hold that the Associated Aviation Nigeria Ltd and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) caused his death in an air crash through negligence.
The deceased was serving as commissioner and was a passenger on board Flight 361 that crashed on October 3, 2013 while conveying the remains of former Ondo State governor the late Olusegun Agagu for the funeral.
The late Falae’s wife, Ese and three teenage children are claiming damages from the defendants for alleged negligence.
They are claiming $100,000 as general damages and N219,906,250 which the deceased would have earned in 15 years as a lawyer, commissioner owner of a construction firm had he not died.
The plaintiffs sought, in the alternative, N108,527,750, £160,740 and $19,000 as special damages for alleged breaches of the defendants’ respective duties under the Civil Aviation Act 2006, Fatal Accident Act 1846 and Fatal Accident Law of Lagos State.
They also prayed for N5million as cost of filing the suit and legal fees, and 10 per cent interest on the post-judgment sum.
Judgment was billed for yesterday and parties were informed by court officials that Justice Rabiu Hadiza Shagari would deliver it by 2pm.
But, the counsel for the parties, who waited for the judge to sit, were invited into the judge’s chambers by 3.30 p.m.
One of the counsel informed reporters when they came out of the judge’s chambers that the judgment was not ready, and that the judge further adjourned it till March 29.
The family claims that Associated Aviation, which operated the chartered aircraft, breached Section 74 of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 by failing to procure a legally binding insurance policy covering its liabilities, including compensation for damages that may be sustained by third parties.
It also wants the court to hold that the company breached statutory duties imposed by Section 55 of the Act when its aircraft at about 9.32 am, a minute after take-off, crashed just outside the aerodrome and caused the deceased’s death.
The plaintiff said the NCAA also failed in its duties to ensure that the aircraft was safe to fly.
“By virtue of Section 31 (f) of the Civil Aviation Act 2006, the second defendant has a statutory duty to ensure efficiency and regularity of air navigation and the safety of aircraft, persons and property carried in the aircraft and for preventing it from endangering persons and property,” it said.
But, the defendants are praying the court to dismiss the suit.
NCAA said the aircraft was airworthy as at the time of the crash and had a valid certificate of air worthiness.
credit: the nation
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