Monday, 4 June 2012

A Bad Weekend For West Africa & State Of Nigeria Air Transport

I was about to publish my previous article when I heard that a Dana Air plane crashed in Lagos, Nigeria, killing 153 people on Sunday 3rd, June 2012.... holly molly! Not again!!

Within an interval of 24 hours i.e 1,440 minutes, the two West African countries (Ghana and Nigeria) who shared equal hegemony within the sub-saharan African region, coincidentally, lost a total of 190 of it's citizens to plane crash.

Nigeria has a poor air safety record - in 1992 we lost 162 army soldiers to plane crash, in 2002 a total of 149 people died when an EAS airliner crashed into northern city of Kano, in 2005 a Bellview airline flight crashed killing 117 people, same year in 2005 a Sosoliso airliner carrying school children from Abuja to Port Harcourt crashed killing 107 people, in 2006 an Aviation Development Co. flight from Abuja to Sokoto crashed killing 96 people. Therefore, from 1992 till today, Monday 4th, June 2012, we have recorded a total number of 784 people killed by plane crash. And what is the government doing about this? Absolutely nothing! International standards like ICAO treaty, Warsaw convention, Chicago convention e.t.c that airlines across the world are required to meet-up with is of no concern to Nigeria. The so-called giant of Africa relies too much on hope and prayers to transport itself on land and air. A sensitive and specialized industry like air transportation demands more than a combination of hope and prayers, it needs regular checkup of both internal and external body of the aircraft, highly trained maintenance technicians and a result-oriented management.

In other part of the world, conveying yourself across borders by air might be tagged as an adventure but it is a sore risk flying within Nigeria.

The sore risk I mentioned here is like a shared type; the citizens are risking their lives with the hope that historical happenings (plane crash) might not occur because they have no choice (if a plane can fly to my destination in 50minutes whereas it will take me 8 hours by road, why can't I give it a shot!) and the airline company are also hedging their risk by compelling a wounded lion to hover regardless of it's injuries.

Some of us who are informed or semi-educated about the aviation industry in Nigeria will have a fresh memory of 2005 - the days of Sosoliso Airline, days of Bellview Airline and the day Pastor Odukoya couldn't return to the pulpit to do what she's known for. We thought those mourning days are over because of President Goodluck Jonathan's FRESH AIR agenda.

With the trend that Nigeria is going, everything seems to be recurring retrospectively. We fought for the end of military rule because democracy seems to be the solution to our plight, unfortunately, the same set of military leaders are sabotaging us under the umbrella of free market, capitalism, freedom-of-speech, majority-rule e.t.c. 

Dana Air crash was a tragic incidence, terrifying and deplorable. I lost distant friends in the crash:(

"Life in Nigeria - travel by road (accident + kidnappers), sea (militants), air (plane crash), stay at home(robbers) and go to church (boko haram)." - public post

R.I.P to the departed souls.

Paul Adepoju