by Olorunwa Lawal
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday assured that the remains of Emmanuel Ogbu, a Nigerian footballer who died in Air Algerie plane crash in Mali last month, would be brought home.
The Director, Consular, in the ministry, Mr Abdulazeez Dankano, said that he had met the family of the deceased and that the ministry had been in close consultation with the Algerian, French and Malian authorities, in the aftermath of the crash.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure that the remains of the late footballer, Mr Emmanuel Ogbu, is brought back,” he said.
Ogbu, a professional footballer with a club in Burkina Faso, was aboard the Air Algerie flight AH5017 which crashed in Mali on July 24 with no survivors.
He was said to be on his way to Dubai to sign a new football contract at the time of the incident.
Dankano told the News Agency of Nigeria that the Algerian authorities had requested for the particulars of the victims’ relatives for possible identification of the remains before the release of bodies.
He said France, which lost more nationals in the crash, was heading the technical aspect of the investigation on the crash, at Mali’s request.
According to him, bodies of victims retrieved from the crash site in a remote area in Mali were flown to France while the incident is being investigated.
“Air Algerie contacted countries whose nationals died in the plane crash if they wanted to join the international investigation team.
“We forwarded that request to our aviation authority but I do not think they were part of the team,” he said.
However, he said countries whose nationals were involved in the crash had received assurances from the airline and France that crash victims would be sent home after the investigation.
Dankano added that the ministry had also contacted the Federal Ministry of Health to assist in taking DNA samples from relatives of the Nigerian.
French experts had said that efforts to recover and identify those killed in the crash were tough as they could not find “intact bodies” at the scene.