In this country, we are awfully familiar with the horror of losing people to senseless deaths. We know just how senseless that plane crash was.
Last week, I travelled by air from Kigali to Lagos. At takeoff, the engine of the plane I boarded suddenly had issues and was delayed for 45 minutes.
After takeoff, turbulence hit so strongly that the serving trays tilted and water spilled all over the aisle. The Nigerians were calling on all their Gods: Allah, Ifa, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. The trauma of the recent Dana crash still fresh in their minds and the lack of justice having depleted all the trust they had in the aviation industry, none of the Nigerians on the flight trusted the Captain’s many attempts at explaining the routine nature of the turbulence. They were going to die and they only trusted their gods.
June 3rd 2012, 153 people who entrusted their lives to Dana Air, the Ministry of Aviation and Mr. Jonathan, lost their lives. Apart for the 153 who were in the plane, many more families sitting in their homes on a Sunday afternoon got burnt or buried alive. The ones that miraculously survived lost their homes, businesses and livelihoods. The tragedy of Dana crossed socioeconomic divides in the country. We buried the rich, the poor, the old, and the young. We mourned and moved on.
In this country, we are awfully familiar with the horror of losing people to senseless deaths. We know just how senseless that plane crash was. We know that 153 people whose future might have been brighter than the sun were on that flight. We know that hundreds more were killed on ground. We know that various Dana Air planes had faults. We know that there were warnings before the flight and during the flight. We know that the folks who Mr. Jonathan has entrusted with the great responsibility of keeping Nigerians safe thousands of miles in the skies are incompetent at best, and corrupt at worst. We know that no regulator was punished for the death of more than 153 people. We now know that Dana Air and her friends are attempting to squash the investigation into what happened. We know that Princess Oduah, and President Jonathan have decided that the Nigerian people do not deserve to know rapidly and transparently why hundreds of people had to die. We know that months or years from now we will mourn more of us and no one will be punished.
This story is not about Dana Air, just like the Sosoliso crash was never about that airline. The rapid decline in the value of a Nigerian life is the horror of this story. Folks, accidents happen all the time, and the Dana Air crash might have been an accident. What is not an accident is the cover-up and the lack of justice that followed this horror. We deserve better. The people that died deserve justice. The simple justice of knowing what happened, how many people died, why they died, who is responsible for their deaths and what Mr. Jonathan and his subordinates are doing to prevent another black Sunday. This is what we deserve. This is what all people all over the world who have been forced to bury the best of themselves deserve. For the dead, we need justice, and for the living, we demand better, better regulation and a new value for our lives.
I have been writing about Nigeria for a while and I now live in this country. I know that we will do nothing. However, a little bit of me hopes that this time will be different. That this time we will sign petitions and make phone calls to Princess Oduah and Dana Air. I hope that we will find the resolve to bring justice to the dead and new regulations so that we may live. The families of the dead deserve to know and it is our collective responsibility to make President Jonathan and Princess Oduah give just a little damn about our lives.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.