Prominent citizens from Imo State have been reacting to the shocking crash of the Dana Air plane last Sunday in which more than 165persons lost their lives.
Their reactions reflected grief and anger as not less than 10 of the victims are from Imo State, including former Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) Vice Chancellor, Prof. Celestine Onwuliri and Group General Manager Public Affairs of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC, Livi Ajuonuma.
Speaking to Christian Voice, Chief Bon Nwakanma, (SAN) a legal luminary, said that he was not surprised, “from stories we are hearing now”, that the crash happend.
He demanded a thorough investigation to find out those who allowed “an aircraft said to be unfit to fly with passengers that included many important men and women .
He said that those guilty should be punished.
Chief Nwakamma specifically mourned the loss of Prof Celestine Onwuliri who was the former Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO).
“The death of Prof. Celestine Onwuliri has robbed the Mbaise nation of a great figure both in the academia and public service. He towered very high in all ramifications and never got into any controversies. Celestine is simply irreplaceable”, he said.
Dr Chuks Osuji lamented that Nigerians have been seen as a nation that lacks confidence in the operators of our aviation sector, alluding to the BBC statement they that they often commit their fate in the hands of God through prayers on take-off and landing.
He said that the disaster touched the fabric of our existence as a nation, adding that one is ashamed to be called a Nigerian looking at the incident.
For Prof Rowland Anyanwu, former secretary of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Nigeria has suffered more than necessary from very tragic mishaps such as this.
He grieved over the loss of Prof Onwuliri and many others and expressed worry over what he termed the total lack of knowledge of crowd control by Nigerian authorities when disasters occur.
According to him, emergency aid officials would have saved lives had they not been blocked by the crowd.
Chief Mike Ahamba, 2nd republic legislator in the Imo State House of Assembly described the crash as a horrifying experience and was saddened that the nation has lost very good brains across the land.
He hoped that Nigeria would learn from the incident.
“One thing I have to say is that it has happened. But, can we learn? Previous air disasters had happened in this country and investigations carried out. If anybody has seen reports of any of them, I have not seen any”, he said.
Barr. Ahamba said that if corrections had been made from past events, maybe we wouldn’t be having these serial human losses.
Other victims from Imo State, according to the manifest include Onyeagocha Chimdinma, Onyeagocha Ogechi, Echeidu Ibe, Jennifer Ibe, among others.
The ill fated plane which departed Abuja in the afternoon on Sunday for Lagos, went down at 3.45p.m. in Iju-Ishaga area, a suburb in Lagos, shortly before it was due to land.
The aircraft, an MD-83, was said to have lost an engine mid-air and the pilot called for an emergency landing but could not sustain the aircraft with the remaining engine.
The aircraft was said to have been 22 years old, having been manufactured by McDonnel of America and acquired four years ago by DANA Air.