Monday, June 4, 2012

Avoidable tragedy- Dana Air crash



I got sick to my stomach yesterday when I heard about the plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria. Stories of the countless families who lost loved ones, over 150 personal stories, have left me incredibly sad.

My friend Delia lost her sister, Kelechi in a plane crash 10 years ago this year and the trauma that she and her family have been through cannot be imagined.

The saddest and most aggravating thing about this crash, is that like many of the crashes before it, this was just a completely avoidable loss of human lives. Sticking to air safety standards, proper maintenance of planes and put bluntly, not purchasing air wrecks in the name of aircrafts in a bid to cut corners would eliminate most of the crashes happening in our country. Not only air crashes, but crashes in basically every sector.

My heart goes out to the families affected - to the family that lost 9 members, to the man that lost his wife and only child on the flight, and countless others. Their deaths must not be in vain. We have to channel this terrible occurrence into forcing change in our society.

There is so much that can be written, both about the reasons why such accidents will continue to happen unless a drastic change is effected, as well as about the sad fact that many Nigerians are desensitized to such tragedies.

Below i share a Facebook post, with permission from the author, for your reflection.

This evening, I called a close friend that we flew back to Lagos from Abuja last week Friday and the first thing he said was that he was in shock and terrified. Why? The same plane we flew MD 5N-RAM. I remember vividly the name RAM as we walked round the plane to board, was the plane that crashed on Sunday - just two days after. There is a but to it.

On friday, as we were descending into Lagos, I remember the pilot saying cabin crew prepare for landing. Quite surprising, no Lagos skyline, it was misty and little or no visibility. Within minutes the plane hit the ground so forcefully that the panel just next to one overhead luggage came off and we could all see the wiring inside the plane. No one talked or said a single word but we knew it was a very bad landing and the plane was tearing apart. Some people brought out their phones and took the picture of the open panel dangling with exposed wiring. If we push and inquire well, they will share the pictures with everyone. The plane was surely falling apart.

That happened on Friday. No one reported to any authority or requested to have the plane grounded. I didn't report, I just considered it as a norm for things that happen in Nigeria. Just like other passengers and the crew probably never did. We all took it for granted. Like we overlook a lot of bad things in Nigeria like

- mediocre doctors who kill our families due to their incompetencies and never get sanctioned or jailed
- irresponsible council chairmen that received payments and never execute such projects
- government that lie to us and just never deliver service
- police brutality that goes unchecked
- touts on the road who reckon it is their right to unduly tax bus drivers
- unwarranted price hikes from greedy sales people
- petrol stations cheating on their gauges and collecting extra 100naira for selling fuel in cans
- PHNC (or NEPA - old school name) charging you for electricity that they never supplied to your house
- greedy airline operators who kill us by flying dilapidated aircrafts because of their greed to make money where they can't sow
- unworthy aviation operators, inept and incapable of monitoring aviation affairs in the country.
- offices operating from 7:30am till 9:30pm only to see people just suddenly dropping dead.

This is just the beginning of a list of what is constantly causing our early death in Nigeria.

I weep for those that lost their lives from this Dana Accident. But it might as well be the beginning of a wake up call for us to demand for a sweeping change in our orientation and demand for what is right. We need to start demanding for quality live and quality service.

In reflection,

I sincerely Thank God for still keeping me alive while in Nigeria despite all these abnormalities.
I Thank God for leading my way and keeping my journey safe - You ain't catching me on any local flight for now. I can jolly well drive the distance.
Since I am still quite alive, I will speak up and demand that we start correcting some abnormalities in Nigeria. If you know anything abnormal that goes around you in Nigeria, kindly put it on the list and start spreading the list around. My list so far is stated below

ABNORMAL LIST (NIGERIA)
================

- greedy airline operators who kill us by flying dilapidated aircrafts because of their greed to make money where they can't sow
- unworthy aviation operators, inept and incapable of monitoring aviation affairs in the country.
- mediocre doctors who kill our families due to their incompetencies and never get sanctioned or jailed
- irresponsible council chairmen that received payments and never execute such projects
- government that lie to us and just never deliver services
- police brutality that goes unchecked
- touts on the road who reckon it is their right to unduly tax bus drivers
- unwarranted price hikes from greedy sales people
- petrol stations cheating on their gauges and collecting extra 100naira for selling fuel in cans
- PHNC (or NEPA - old school name) charging you for electricity that they never supplied to your house
- offices operating from 7:30am till 9:30pm only to see people just suddenly dropping dead.


May the souls of the departed rest in peace, and may the grieving be comforted.

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