Days ago, passengers who boarded Dana Air from Lagos to Abuja, got the scare of a lifetime when an emergency exit door flew off the plane while it taxied. Although the airline denies an oversight on their part and promptly put the blame on a passenger, passengers have outrightly debunked their claim.

“We wish to state categorically that this could never have happened without a conscious effort by a passenger to open it (exit door),” a statement issued by the airline read. “The emergency exit door of our aircraft are plug-type backed by pressure, which ordinarily cannot fall off without tampering or a conscious effort to open by a crew member or passenger.”

On the contrary, a passenger, Ola Brown, said there was a rattling sound from the door throughout the entire flight, which she mistook for a loose screw. She never expected the door to actually come off. Another said he had noticed the emergency door latch was loose and dangling during the flight. A statement the airline debunked on its part, saying an airborne aircraft is fully pressurised and therefore could not have doors or seats shaking.

The airline also claims there was an inspection by engineers and a team from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority before it took off and no problem was detected or pointed out. “The [return] flight was only delayed for eight minutes as we needed to demonstrate to the regulators that the safety and comfort of our guests are at the centre of our operations,” the statement read.

Currently, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA) has reportedly commenced an investigation into the incident with its spokesperson, Sam Adurogboye, confirming that a four-member team had indeed inspected the aircraft for airworthiness before its return to operations.

If this is the case, then something is obviously amiss and both the airline and members of the NCAA should be subject to investigation by a higher authority. Either of the parties was negligent in their duty, consequently endangering lives. Or else, nothing would come off the current investigation, if at all there’s actually one. It would be another story swept under the carpet and forgotten until something worse happens in the future. It is difficult to imagine or believe that a passenger would fondle with facilities while airborne aboard a plane.

The Nigerian aviation industry is quite infamous for its degenerate state; last year, two of the country’s most notable airports ranked third and fifth on the list of world’s worst airports in terms of services and facilities. Almost every year, there’s a call on the federal government, followed by promises to revamp the industry but nothing significantly tangible is borne out of these.

On its part, Dana Air has an unpleasant history owing to the crash of one of its carriers in June 2012, which killed over 150 people. The incident remains one of Nigeria’s major air disasters; the airline was suspended and had its license withdrawn by the government for six months until its resumption in January 2013.

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