An inspiring morning with Jide Bello, talking Nigerian culture. I had no idea the Ife exhibition had moved to the National Museum in Lagos. Great publicity Lagos State!
Meanwhile, he showed us some fascinating pictures of a recent trip to Calabar (to witness the filming of Half of a Yellow Sun), including these images of Obong Eyo Honesty IX's house in Duke Town. The descendants of the old King still live in the house, which features beautiful wood panelling and stained glass windows. To think that former governor Donald Duke wasted all that money on Tinapa, which no one visits except to stay in the hotel, when he could have spent a relatively tiny amount of government money renovating the magnificent old buildings of Calabar and turning them into museums. Calabar's tourist potential is yet to be untapped.
I wonder if this is the house of Duke IX of Old Calabar (an earlier post). Umoh Bassey-Duke/Nkoyo Toyo - can you help? I'm not sure that it is, but he would surely have lived in a house similar to this (and its probably another still-standing place of faded grandeur). To think of all the things that old mirror has seen! Surely its not too much for the Government of Cross River to realise what enormous cultural wealth it has on its doorstep and do something about it...
I am a guest blogger today on the N-Katalyst site, a forum for progressive Nigerians. N-Katalyst members have been actively engaging government on the fuel subsidy and various other pressing Nigerian issues.
REQUEST FOR A PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO THE DANA AIR CRASH
We the undersigned representatives of N-Katalyst, a non-partisan network of individuals from diverse sectors committed to the promotion of Nigerian unity and progressive change, hereby request the establishment of a publicly accessible and representative inquiry into the Dana Air crash of June 3, 2012.
Background and Purpose
The aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas 83 (MD83) with Registration Number 5N-RAM and 153 people on board departed Abuja for Lagos in the afternoon of June 3 but crashed five minutes to landing at Iju-Ishaga, a densely populated neighbourhood in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos. All the 153 passengers on board were reportedly killed as well as unverified number of persons on ground. The fallen aircraft destroyed several buildings and rendered a good number of others uninhabitable by the force of the impact on earth surface. Environmental experts have also reported possible emission of radioactive materials in the neighbourhood.
Available information from insider sources and passengers who have flown in the aircraft before the incident suggests that it ought not to have been in service on that day and in fact should have been retired on account of incessant engine faults if the oversight agencies as well as the airline had been steadfast with maintaining aviation safety standards, although the Dana Air disputes these claims.
Therefore, an open and accessible public Inquiry will help in ascertaining what really caused the crash and resultant deaths and destruction of property by investigating the immediate and remote causes and bringing to justice any persons or corporates found culpable.
Chronology of major Air Crashes in Nigeria
Nigeria has experienced one too many crashes resulting to mass deaths in the last twenty years and all the aircrafts involved were registered and operated in the country, which calls into question how serious we take aviation safety and security:
1. September 26, 1992 - A Nigerian Air Force C-130 crashed minutes after taking off from Lagos airport. Around 200 people died.
2. June 25, 1995 - A Harka Airlines Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-134 crashed at Lagos airport, killing 15 people.
3. November 13, 1995 - A Nigeria Airways Boeing 737 crashed on landing in Kaduna, killing nine people.
4. November 7, 1996 - A Boeing 727 operated by Nigeria's ADC Airlines crashed on its way from Port Harcourt to Lagos. All 142 passengers and nine crew died.
5. May 4, 2002 - A Nigerian EAS Airlines BAC 1-11 crashed in Kano. At least 148 people were killed, 75 on the plane and at least 73 on the ground.
6. October 22, 2005 - A Nigerian Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 airliner crashed shortly after take-off from Lagos. All 111 passengers and six crew were killed.
7. December 10, 2005 - A Nigerian Sosoliso Airlines DC9 from Abuja crashed on landing in Port Harcourt, killing 106 people, half of them schoolchildren on their way home for Christmas.
8. September 17, 2006 - Twelve Nigerian military personnel, mostly high-ranking officers, were killed in a plane crash in Benue state. Six survived.
9. October 29, 2006 - An ADC airliner with 114 passengers on board crashed and burned after take-off from Abuja, killing 96 people.
10. June 3, 2012 - A Dana Air passenger plane carrying 153 people crashed in the Agege suburb of Lagos, killing everyone on board and an unconfirmed number on ground.
It is disheartening to note that the standard response of the Government of Nigeria (GON) to all these aforementioned crashes was to set up secretive technical investigation panels whose reports were apparently neither made public nor acted upon. In a way, these technical panels became a tunnel through which successive governments ran away from their responsibility of making Nigerian airspace safe and secure for all stakeholders.
Your government is in a historic position to break this vicious cycle of public deceit if it heeds our request to convene a public inquiry into the crash.
Possible Terms of Reference
The Panel should among other things look into the following as part of its Terms of Reference (ToR):
a. Investigate and determine the cause of the crash and examine contributory factors;
b. Examine what regulatory guidelines, instructions and orders were applicable and whether they were complied with;
c. Determine the state of serviceability of the aircraft and relevant equipment;
d. Establish the level of training, relevant competences and qualifications of the crew members involved in the crash;
e. Ascertain if search and rescue facilities were fully available, utilized and functioned correctly;
f. Ascertain the number of people on ground that lost their lives and value of property destroyed at the site of the crash.
g. Assess any health and safety at work and environmental protection implications to the residents of the area in which the crash occurred.
h. Determine and comment on any broader contributory factors or causes including, management, oversight, maintenance culture and resources.
i. Make appropriate recommendations.
We request that the membership of the panel should be broadly representative including members of non-governmental human rights organizations and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). This is to ensure transparency and accountability.
We look forward to a favourable and timely response to our request in order to take advantage of the mood of the moment; provide some assurance to the bereaved that the death of their loved ones will not go in vain; prevent avoidable air mishaps in future and more importantly ensure that the Nigerian airspace is not only safe but complies with international aviation safety standards.
We thank you for your kind consideration and attention to our request.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dr Jibrin Ibrahim Dr Otive Igbuzor
Saudatu Mahdi Bilkisu Yusuf
Ayisha Osori Prof Ebere Onwudiwe
Yemi Candide-Johnson Ayo Obe
Saka Azimazi Maryam Uwais
Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim Innocent Chukwuma
Chris Kwaja Hassan Hussaini
Dr A. S. Mohammed Nsongurua Udombana
Asma’u Joda Nsirimovu Anyakwee
Dr Kabir az Zubair Martin Obono
Dr Hussaini Abdu Aisha Oyebode
Hubert Shaiyen Dr Arabo Ibrahim Bayo
Fatima Wali-Abdurrahman Dr Charmaine Pereira