As Nigerians across the world painfully mark the one year remembrance of the 153 souls that departed in the ill-fated Dana air crash of June 3, Dr. Benjamin Anyene is calling on the Aviation industry of Nigeria to act in integrity by digging up the real cause of the crash in order to prevent a repeat of such occurrence in the country.
Dr Anyene is the elder brother of Onyeka Anyene (44) who died with his wife Maimuna (33), four children namely Kamsiyonna, (3) Kainetochi, (2) Kaimarachi (2) and Kobichimee, (five months), mother in law and two other cousins all from the same family in the plane crash. Even though, they are gradually healing through God’s help, he disclosed that they can never forget the untimely death of nine members of the family.
Dr Anyene who spoke to The News-Chronicle in a telephone interview said: “Up till now, nobody really knows what caused the crash because there has not been an official report yet. Everything has been swept under the carpet and nobody has been able to say, this is really what happened and that’s all we need because if we don’t know, they will likely make the same mistake again.”
On the part of the government, a revised National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) was launched last month as part of efforts to ensure safety and security in the country.
Responding to the new policy on Aviation, Dr Anyene said: “I have searched all their websites; I have not seen that policy. There has to be transparency in our transactions”
“We need policies, not just to be done but to be seen. People in government do not have a monopoly of knowledge. There are people who can also make good input in those documentations. If you don’t have proper strategy and plans to implement a policy, the policy will remain a document. The policies should also be made available in the open, for people who have skills and knowledge to make input but those things are not happening.”
Dr Anyene added that: “In as much as we are renovating the airports and aircrafts, that is just 10% of what needs to be done. Proper documentation is needed because any mistake made by people in government affects all of us.”
Dana Air Flight 992 was a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft making a scheduled commercial passenger flight from Abuja to Lagos, Nigeria. On Sunday, 3 June 2012, the aircraft crashed into a furniture works and printing press building in the Iju-Ishaga neighbourhood of Lagos.
The crash, believed to have been caused by dual engine failure and subsequent forced landing, resulted in the deaths of all 153 people on board, as well as approximately ten deaths and an unknown number of injuries to people on the ground. It is the deadliest aviation accident involving a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 and the second-deadliest involving an MD-80 in general behind Inex-Adria Flight 1308. It is also the second-deadliest accident on Nigerian soil, behind the Kano air disaster.
Dr Anyene advised Nigerians to quit believing that God allowed every occurrence as he believes some are caused by the carelessness of man. He said: “When things happen in Nigeria for lack of good policies, people say it is an act of God. God doesn’t create people to kill them. God gave us wisdom to be able to think well and do good, if we do it wrong, it’s unfair to drag God into it. Nigeria suffers from Intellectual laziness but this country can do better. Let’s do more politics of growth and development rather than politics of self.”
In memory of the departed souls, a service of songs organised by the families of the crash victims was rendered yesterday at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.
Lagos State Government has also prepared the crash centre as a memorial site. A Cenotaph will be unveiled today which will have all the names of the people that died in the ill-fated crash. There will also be a service on the site. Lagos state government is hosting and funding the memorial at the scene of the crash.
Dr Anyene intimated The News-Chronicle that, although, they died on the 3rd of June, they were buried on the 13th of July and “by custom and tradition, the day you left is actually the day you were buried. We are asking people in general to pray for their souls as well as giving to the needy. Nigerians have been very supportive. Apart from giving and praying, there will also be a quiet supplication on his behalf, from today till 13 July, when he was buried.”
Plane crashes in Nigeria since 1973 till date
January 22, 1973 – Royal Jordanian Airlines flight 707 carrying 171 Nigerian Muslims returning from Mecca and 5 crewmen died in crash in Kano, Nigeria.
March 1, 1978 – Nigeria Airways F28-1000 crashes in Kano killing 16.
June 24, 1995 – Harka Air Services Tupolev 34 crashes on landing in Lagos killing 16.
November 13, 1995 – Nigeria Airways Boeing 737-2F9 crashes on landing in Kaduna killing 9
November 7, 1996 – A Nigerian ADC (Aviation Development Corporation) Airline Boeing 727-231 flying from Port Harcourt to Lagos with 142 passengers and 9 crew members crashed on landing, plunging into a lagoon with all on board killed.
May 4, 2002 – Nigerian EAS Airlines’ BAC 1-11-500 with 105 people on board crashed and burst into flames in a poor, densely populated suburb of Kano. 76 on board killed, including 72 on the ground bringing it to a total 148 dead.
October 22, 2005 – A Nigerian Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 airliner with 117 people on board crashes and disintegrates in flames shortly after take-off from Lagos. All on board killed.
December 10, 2005 – A Nigerian Sosoliso Airlines DC-9 crashes in Port Harcourt, killing all 103 on board. Most on board were school children going home for Christmas.
September 17, 2006 – A Nigerian 18-seater Dornier 228 Air Force transport plane, carrying 15 senior army officers and three crew members crashed leaving only three survivors that sustained serious injuries.
June 3, 2012 – A Dana Airlines Flight 9J 992 carrying 153 passengers on board crashed at a residential area of Iju-Ishaga, Lagos. No one survived the crash.