by Chi Ibe
James Okafor was unable to control his emotion as he spoke to news men yesterday. He was still trying to come to terms with the fact that his younger brother, Nwabuwa, was killed by the plane crash that occurred in Iju Ishaga area of Lagos on Sunday.
Nwabuwa was neither the pilot nor the passenger; he was merely enjoying a Sunday rest sleeping on the balcony in the upper region of the storey building when the plane crashed into the house. “On Sunday after he returned from church, he was resting on the balcony of the house where my sister, children, and husband reside. I was told that the plane landed on him and he died in the process,” Okafor said in tears.
“Though he was riding an Okada (bike) until his death, he had great dreams. It is a pity that the incident suddenly shattered the dreams. My sister and his children were with a family who was holding a birthday party that Sunday. But for that, it would have been worse for us,” he stated.
Okafor’s heart wrenching story is just one of hundreds that are being heard following the devastating Dana air crashed.
Anjola Fatokun travelled to Abuja on May 28 with her two children, Olaoluwa, three, and Ibukun (barely one year old) to visit her husband for the first time since he was transferred. That was the last time he ever saw them as they all took the Dana flight that crashed in Lagos.
According to ThisDay correspondents who visited Resource Intermediaries Limited (RIL), an outsourcing company, members of staff were seen walking listlessly as the shocking impact of the triple death visited on them sunk in. The company lost two of its members of staff, Aimanehi Celine Onemolease and Fortune David-Kolawole. Unfortunately too, Mrs. David-Kolawole was with her little tot, Eyin Ojuoluwa, in the plane.
ThisDay writer, Damilola Oyedele paid tribute to the late Reverend Ayodeji Kolade Cole and his wife, Reverend Ngozi Oreoluwa Cole who were, before their death in the ill-fated Dana Air crash last Sunday, senior pastors of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) and presided over a branch of the church called, Vision House, located in Utako, Abuja.
After Sunday’s service, they rushed to the airport to catch their 2.15 flight. One of Papa’s assistants had already gone to the airport to check in their luggage so that they would not delay. They were going to Lagos for the 60th birthday ceremony of Bishop Peace Okonkwo, wife of the Presiding Bishop of TREM, Mike Okonkwo. These two are survived by three biological children who are still in primary school, aged parents, siblings and a church that cannot believe what has befallen them.
At the site of the crash where these stories burned gathered people who barely knew them. Most of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition anyway but what was most disturbing were the emotionless criminals that saw this as an opportunity to take advantage of the situation.
There were those at the site with an ulterior motive: to scavenge and steal what was left behind. Many of those who rushed down pretended to render help while scouting for valuables, some of which they quickly picked and ferreted into their pockets.
Aside the human lives that were lost, the cows that were kept in one of the destroyed compounds were roasted to death. The scavengers swooped on the carcasses of the burnt cows. The fish pond in the compound was not left out too as they were emptied by the mongers.
At one of the compounds visited to ascertain the level of damage, a resident who was simply identified as Femi forbade anyone from entering his premises on account of his experience with the previous set of people who came in to help who turned out to rob them of what was not lost to the fire.
He said: “Some Nigerians are very wicked. Even with the gravity of the calamity that was visited on our area, some people whose consciences have been smeared came into our compound on the pretext to help us evacuate our remaining properties only for them to turn around and stole them.”
Source: Punch, ThisDay.