The Nigerian social media was awash with the unfortunate event of a fatal air crash which occurred on the 3rd of June, 2012 despite there being no local coverage of the mishap hours after it was reported on the international news media. All 153 passengers on the flight lost their lives when a plane owned by Dana Air crashed into a building in a densely populated area. The plane was coming from Abuja to Lagos when it crashed in the Iju/Ishaga area of the city. It has been reported that this particular aircraft had a “near-miss” 3 weeks ago, yet it was given a clean bill to fly without any serious maintenance check.
This crash comes at the heels of another air mishap tragedy barely 24 hours old. 10 people were killed when a cargo plane from Nigeria heading to Ghana attempted to land at Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport, Accra when it crashed and slammed into a bus loaded with passengers. The 10 passengers of the bus lost their lives while the crew of the cargo plane were lucky to escape. Witnesses say the plane belongs to Allied Cargo, a Nigerian Air Freight company based in Lagos.
This is a sad reminder of the inefficiency, dirt and lack of effective regulatory checks in the aviation sector and by extension to other federal institutions and agencies; a corollary of unabated corruption in the country. The safety of persons patronizing the aviation industry is one that ought to be sacrosanct. However, the regulatory bodies appear to only be interested in revenue generation. It has been rumored that FAAN and NCAA charge a whopping 55% of the gross earnings of these airlines! If this is true, there’s little wonder how a blind eye has been turned and a mere lip service is given to the unsavory practices of below average maintenance and air-worthiness of these crafts used by most air craft operators who cut corners in order to keep their businesses afloat. I am quite sure that “stories that touch the heart” will be the case if it is to be ascertained what became of these humongous revenues collected by these regulatory bodies.
It is shameful that at this point in time of our history, Nigeria is still grappling with the most basic of problems. Little wonder why development is stinted and in extreme cases, non-existent. The importance of running an efficient aviation industry in any developing nation can never be over-emphasized. The lack of effective regulation by FAAN and NCAA on air craft operators have caused but not a few air mishaps in Nigeria. One would have thought that with the senseless loss of lives that occurred some years back during the Sosoliso and Bellview air crashes, the Nigerian government would have learnt a thing or two about certain aspects of the economy that should be closely regulated due to safety and security concerns. Unfortunately, these agencies of government are only interested in revenue generation. As a result, regulations are lax and allow for below internationally recognized safety standards.
A good government is rated by its ability to provide the most basic need for its citizenry which include provision of safe modes of transportation while maintaining their economic viability. Road transportation is nothing to write home about. Rail transportation ranges from non-existent to epileptic and now air transport. This is another testament to the fatality of corruption which has ravaged and raped this country for so long. This latest tale of woe is another addition to the already long list of woes to have befallen this administration since its inception.
Nigeria needs a government that is not constantly taken by “surprise”. This re-active approach in handling crises leaves a lot to be desired. A pro-active approach to the nation’s many woes is required. A pro-active approach at problem solving and intelligence gathering would have forestalled bomb attacks which happened yesterday in a church in Bauchi and in Naraguta in Jos, Plateau State. It is pathetic, the lives that have been lost as a result of gross ineptitude and the infiltration of corruption in every facet of our government. The president needs to step up efforts to eradicate corruption if this senseless incidence of loss of lives is to be abated.
Our hearts goes out to all who lost a family, a friend or an acquaintance in this national misfortune.
May God help us all!
Malcolm O. Ifi.
Follow @saymalcolm on twitter.
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