The lasting groush of plane crash
lasting GROUCH FOR DANA
If he had known, he would have stayed back in The village – Victim’s in-law
He was not planning to travel by air. He had never travelled by air in his entire life. He was sleeping in his bedroom. He was only a motorbike rider, popularly known as okada. But he was killed by a plane. If Mr Nwabuwa Okafor had known what fate held in store for him, he would probably have stayed back in The village with his wife and children. Nwabuawa was one of The victims living in The two storey building where The plane crashed into at Iju/Ishaga area of Lagos last Sunday, June 3, 2012.
Nwabuwa only came toLagossix months ago in search of greener pasture. He came with The dream of making a better living for his family. Unfortunately, two weeks ago, he joined okada business after all efforts to get a better job failed. Today, Nwabuwa who was living with his brother in-law, Mr. Chima Iloka, also lying critically ill at The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Surgical Emergency wards, LASUTH, is currently in The Lekan Ogunsola mortuary without achieving his dreams.
This is The painful picture painted by his in-law, Chima Iloka, who regretted that he was not able to save him. (Nwabuawa) when Saturday Vanguard visited him in The hospital Tuesday.
THE lasting GROUCH OF plane CRASH
According to Iloka, it was impossible to rescue Nwabuwa as The plane landed right on their bedroom where Nwabuwa was sleeping that Sunday afternoon.
In an emotional voice, he said: “We were all hale and hearty before this incident occurred. He came toLagossix months ago. He only started okada business just two weeks ago.
“When it happened, I never knew where I was. It was after 30 minutes that I recovered myself because everyone was looking for a way to escape before The ambulance arrived and I saw one of my boys who was washing clothes downstairs. My boy was injured at The back.
Everything was destroyed before we could come down from The top floor. I live at The 6th floor. I was inside with my visitor discussing while my brother in-law was sleeping when one of my boys told me that they have brought light.
“Where I normally change my light is in The kitchen side. So I told him to leave The generator on as The light may not last. Few minutes later, I asked my daughter to go and check, she went and came back to report there was light. So I went to The kitchen and my daughter ran to me and asked what I was doing. I told her I was changing The light to NEPA. The next thing I heard was a loud noise. So, I immediately called my daughter at The same time as my visitor ran out and was confused.
The plane entered through The sitting room. I found myself at The end of The wall. Some blocks covered me up but I was able to push them away. At that time, I called my daughter and she answered “Daddy, I am, here.” Then, I opened The door for her to escape and she escaped.
I started calling my brother in law but there was no response. It was then I knew that something must have happened to him. As I was about trying to rescue him, I noticed smoke coming from The bedroom where The plane landed. I tried to help him, but I saw flames coming seriously and I ran out.
“Unfortunately, my in-law was confirmed dead. He is in The mortuary”, he said amidst tears. Asked where his wife was then, he said, his wife went to church and was not back.
Chima who appealed to The State and Federal governments to assist him and other victims of The air crash said: “I lost my money, my properties and above all, my brother in-law in The crash.
“I usually go to The market every Monday. All The money I brought home that weekend got burnt. We cannot even plan for The burial now because I am still in The hospital and I have nothing. My wife and my daughter are sleeping right now in a church close to our former house.”
Confirming that The state Government has been taking care of him and other victims, he said his elder brother arrived Monday but “we have not been able to see The body.”
Asked when The burial will be fixed, he queried: “How can you talk about burial when I am still lying here in The hospital?We no longer have a home of our own. My wife and daughter now sleep in The church.All my money is gone. Infect, psychologically, I am yet to recover or to come to terms with what happened.
“The person you are talking about is not a small boy. He is a family man. As an Igbo man he will be buried in The village”
Asked who have been responsible for his medical bills, Chima told Saturday Vanguard that, The State government had been treating him and The other four victims brought to LASUTH free of charge since The night they arrived at The hospital. “They are doing what they feel they can do to assist. The damage has already been done. They told us that by 2:00 PM, his elder brother can go and see The body”.
Another relation of one of The victims, Alhaji Sambo Tanko also spoke to Saturday Vanguard.
Describing The deceased as a very precious person, he said: “He is a grandfather, uncle and very precious to me. He was former three-time Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence during Obasanjo’s regime and Chairman Ericson. He is Ibrahim Damchida. They call him Super Perm Sec during Philip Asiodu’s era. He celebrated his 79th birthday just three weeks ago.
There is no government in this country. I’m just expressing my pain. This moment, I’m feeling too bad. When you want to talk, don’t mention government. Forget it. We have no government in this country. First, we were made to understand that The German engineer grounded that plane. But The Indian owners of The plane said they will lose funds; they’ll lose resources if they don’t fly. And their management went and bribed The aviation authority and they allowed it to fly.
“Now that they have killed our people, what will happen? What do they expect us to do? Oh, compensation? Please! The pain is there; let us mourn our dead. For God’s sake, The person (Ibrahim Damcida) I’m talking about here is a royal father, a very important citizen of this nation. This man trained me and he is still training my children. Was it not only yesterday that they killed people in Bauchi? So, if I decided to go by road and my car tyre punctured and I decided to stop and change The tyre and they swoop on me. Is it not The same insecurity we’re talking about? Don’t make caricature of anybody or The issue. Take up legal matter against who? Federal government and who? Forget it. We don’t have a government in this country. These things happen and they behave as if nothing happened because they are flying in presidential jet.
“He is a king, we did not elect him. He put himself there. All these things fall back on corruption. It is corruption. You can’t go by road, you can’t go by air. So, now, we start going by sea. We that are in The North, we go through The Atlantic ocean, maybe we find ourselves in Libya and then, come down to Chad and then, to Nigeria. Maybe that’s The route we will be travelling now. If not, tell me why insecurity in whatever form cannot be tackled by those up there.
We want to identify his body and take it toMaiduguriinBornoStateand bury him. We are Africans and our dead means a lot to us.”
A man who would not disclose his names said he lost his very close friend, The son of late Naval Chief Aikhomu and his wife aboard this plane. “Ehime Aikhomu and his wife died in The plane. We’re here now, once we’re gone, The matter is ended and then, we’ll be left to go and bury our dead and lick our wound. But one day, they too will die. This country is corrupt. A whole Akwa-Ibom State Governor, Akpabio flew on this same aircraft a few days back and reported that The plane is bad, that this aircraft is not good, that this plane is grounded.
“What did they say? Aviation authorities allowed it saying Dana management said that Lebanese engineers have come to fix it. And see how they have wasted The lives of these people now. Let’s watch, The minute we leave here, The matter is closed. Tell me, in Belleview, did they do anything? In Sosoliso, did we hear anything? Did they do anything? Soon, they will sweep everything under The carpet.”
A LINGERING lasting GROUCH FOR DANA
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