Wednesday, 6 June 2012

News Report: Nigeria Plane Reported Engine Failure

Crashed Nigeria Plane
Credit: Reuters

A plane that crashed in Lagos on Sunday, killing all 153 people on board in Nigeria's worst airline disaster for two decades, reported dual engine failure just before going down, the aviation minister said on Wednesday.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-83, operated by privately owned domestic airline Dana Air, smashed into an apartment block in a densely populated suburb on Sunday afternoon, killing everyone on board and probably six people on the ground.

"From the record of communication that we have, the captain of the aircraft called the traffic control in Lagos declaring a mayday and reported dual engine failure," Aviation Minister Stella Oduah told journalists at the presidential villa.

"It was shortly after the captain's distress call that the aircraft could no longer be seen in the radar and communication was lost."
The government has set up panels to review the safety of all airlines in the country and suspended Dana Air's air license.

Dana Air has said there was nothing wrong with the aircraft.

"Dana Air takes safety very seriously and our aircraft are sound," Dana Director Francis Ogboro told a news conference, repeating the company's position that there was no mechanical fault with the plane before it went down.

Search teams found the "black box" voice and data recorder on Monday and it has been sent abroad for decoding, the Accident Investigations Bureau said.
Nigeria's poor air safety record had been improving and Sunday's was the first big crash for six years.

Deaths On The Ground:
Lagos state government estimated that 159 people were killed in the collision, including six on the ground whose bodies have yet to be found.

Workers have finished recovering bodies from the rubble, Lagos state attorney general Ade Ipaye said. In total, 149 bodies were found and a number of body parts. Around two thirds of remains could not be identified and were to undergo post-mortem identification at a forensics laboratory.

"In circumstances like this it's difficult to be exact on numbers, we have body parts that were not attached to anything," Ipaye said.

Distinguishing the passengers from other victims has proven difficult and only two bodies - those of a woman and the child she was holding - have been confirmed as casualties on the ground.

A survey of the building and the surrounding houses found six people missing, said Oke Osanyintolu of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency.

Most of the dead on board were Nigerians, although a family of six Americans of Nigerian descent was killed, as were four Chinese citizens, two Lebanese and a French woman.

Britain's Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday that a British economist was also killed.

News Release: Honouring Late Chief MKO Abiola

Late MKO Abiola
The June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations (J12CODEF) is shocked and disturbed by the crisis that has engulfed the polity as a result of President Goodluck Jonathan's May 29th 2012 national broadcast in which he announced the change of the name of the University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University and wish to appeal for calm and civility in our conducts and utterances.

The Coalition wish to re-emphasize that on June 12, 1993, Nigerians in their millions went to the polls to elect a President in person of Late Chief MKO Abiola who broke religion and ethnic divide to secure a Pan Nigerian mandate that was unprecedented in the country’s political history. The election was annulled by the Babangida junta and Chief Abiola incarcerated by the succeeding Abacha regime until he was murdered in controversial circumstances in detention by the Nigerian state.

It is an indisputable fact that the Hero of our democracy, Late Bashorun MKO Abiola and other martyrs paid the supreme price for civilian rule of which we are all beneficiaries today. Therefore, it is in recognition of this fact, that the June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations have always celebrated June 12 every year as Democracy day since 1993 with a clarion call on the Nigerian state to accord chief Abiola his rightful place in Nigeria’s political history by honouring him as the symbol of our democracy.

The June 12 Coalition believes that Late Chief MKO Abiola deserves all the accolades and honour we can bestow upon him because of his unparalleled role in the birth of our democracy. We believe that the Goodluck Jonathan administration can do more than renaming the University of Lagos after late Bashorun MKO Abiola.

It is our candid opinion that if the present administration is indeed sincere with honouring late chief Abiola, the most appropriate thing to do would have been to first and foremost recognize him posthumously as a former president of Nigeria. Thereafter, we expect President Goodluck Jonathan to have named either June 12 which is Democracy Day as MKO Abiola Day or even rename the National Stadium, Abuja, or Aso Rock Villa or Eagle square or University of Abuja, etc after the late former President MKO Abiola of blessed memory. All of this would have been a befitting legacy to this great hero who gave his all to his people.

The mandate of which MKO Abiola was entrusted to lead the Nigerian people in 1993 was freely obtained nationally at the polls and so one would expect the government to honour him nationally outside his home region, because doing otherwise would be tantamount to attempting to trivialize the import of June 12 1993 Presidential elections which encompasses the oneness of the teeming masses of the whole country.

Baba Omojola                                                                        

Nelson Ekujumi
Gen. Sec.