Monday, 4 June 2012

The Iju-Ishaga Story........Its beginning and Ending.

Tear banks must have received enough deposits. Loved ones have been lost, hopes shattered, minds uncultivated and young dreams and ideas left unharvested. One can only but imagine the scenario at the MMA2 Airport in Lagos as at yesterday through to this morning. While there is much gratitude, there's also most sincere sympathy. This is the story of a nation clocking 52 years of independence, wriggled by the constant menace of the Boko Haram Bombers and registering a record number of plane crashes in less than a decade. Something must be done and who to begin the fight? No one else but You. Yes YOU!! A preliminary independent enquiry into the Dana tragedy of Sunday June 3, 2012 reveals that the Aviation company might have purchased an aircraft with Pre-existing safety issues and a troubling past safety records. Its shocking, yet revealing that the aviation industry is still yet to learn from the Bellview and Sosoliso Airline incidents of past years. The Dana Air MC Donnell Douglas MD 83 must have certainly been jinxed, but not until 163 lives had been lost, then the Jinx finally was broken. Why people desire to make profits not minding lives been lost and wasted not only baffles me, but leaves my mouth gape-wide open(See Video). The question therefore is whether the necessary procedures were carried out on the aircraft in question prior to purchase and operation in Nigeria? Or it was allowed to commence operation after "due process" was completed...I mean the Nigerian way..coughs*
We look at the issue of Nigeria as a "dumping ground". A dumping ground that most probably collects all faulty wares which leads to its citizens being dumped into the grave. Dana's Air's McDonnell Douglas MD-83 jet is part of a fleet that was sold off by Alaskan Airlines in 2008 as the company upgraded its existing fleet to include more fuel-efficient aircrafts.With regards to the specific Dana aircraft in question, which flew within the Nigerian airspace under registration number 5N-RAM, it was discovered that this same piece was previously registered to Alaskan airlines with FAA N-number N944AS. The CN of the plane was 53019/1783. This aircraft had been documented to have a series of problems while it was still a property of the Alaskan Airlines. Checks with the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed that the ill-fated aircraft had a previous aircraft incident while still hovering the US airspace. The incident occurred on August 20th, 2006 and is listed in NTSB's record as incident LAX061A301. On that day, the plane landed without incident , but while taxiing to parking, the Cabin crew intimated their colleagues on the flight crew about the emergence of a smelly smoke from an electrical spark, which had permeated the Cabin area. Although the cause of Sunday's crash is yet to be determined the big question remains as to whether the problems of the aircraft were resolved satisfactorily?  Also, whether the eventual buyers and the Nigerian Ministry of aviation were aware of this fact(s) and took necessary steps to ensure the plane was safe to operate within the Nigerian airspace. 
So here's how the story goes----------->Americans reject the plane------------->Some group of Indians buy it and bring it to Nigeria------------->here we are, telling the Iju Ishaga story.
Nigeria Mourns its own....
A statement released from the Presidential Villa reads "President Jonathan assures air travelers in the country that every possible effort will be made to ensure that the right lessons are learnt from the tragic loss of valuable lives in today's plane crash and that further measures will be put in place to boost aviation in the country". Needless to say, we've heard that many times before and the incompetency does not seem to go away since then. President Jonathan has spent an entire tenure assuring Nigerians of all manner of things: from Boko Haram to fuel subsidy removal and now plane crashes. Nigerians are used to being assured and never seeing the assurances come to manifestation. All politicians do promise; If you don't, you don't win an electoral seat.  While our beloved- once-shoeless President has ordered a 'thorough investigation", we hope this will not be on of those stories which build up lots of smoke and dies down with passing time. These affected families have the right to know what happened to their Loved ones and they deserve a very 'good' explanation too!

Timeline of fatal plane crashes in Nigeria (Source: Daily Times)
November 20, 1969 – Nigeria Airways BAC VC10 crashes on landing in Lagos, killing 87 on board.
January 22, 1973 – Royal Jordanian Airlines Flight 707 crashed in Kano. All 171 Nigerians returning from Mecca and 5 crew members died.
March 1, 1978 – Nigeria Airways F28-1000 crashes in Kano, killing 16.
November 28, 1983 – Nigeria Airways F28-1000 crashes on approach in Enugu, killing 53 on board.
July 11, 1991 – Nigeria Airways DC-8-61 crashes in Jeddah, killing 261 on board.
September 26, 1992 – Nigerian Air Force A C-130 plane crashes minutes after take-off from Lagos, killing 200 on board. June 24, 1995 – Harka Air Services Tupolev 34 crashes on landing in Lagos, killing 16.
November 13, 1995 – Nigeria Airways Boeing 737-2F9 crashes on landing in Kaduna, killing 9.
November 7, 1996 – A Nigerian ADC Airline Boeing 727-231, flying from Port Harcourt to Lagos with 142 passengers and 9 crew members crashed on landing, plunging into a lagoon with all on board killed.
January 31, 1997 – SkyPower Express Airways Embraer 110PIA crashes on landing in Yola, killing 5.
January 5, 2000 – SkyPower Express Airways Bandeirante 110P1A crashes on landing in Abuja, killing 17.
May 4, 2002 – Nigerian EAS Airlines’ BAC 1-11-500, with 105 people on board, crashed and burst into flames in a densely populated suburb of Kano. 76 on board killed, including 72 on the ground bringing it to a total 148 dead.
October 22, 2005 – A Nigerian Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 airliner, with 117 people on board, crashes and disintegrates in flames shortly after take-off from Lagos. All on board were killed.
December 10, 2005 – A Nigerian Sosoliso Airlines DC-9 crashes in Port Harcourt, killing all 103 on board. Most of the victims were schoolchildren going home for Christmas.
September. 17, 2006 – A Nigerian 18-seater Dornier 228 Air Force transport plane, carrying 15 senior army officers and three crew members, crashed in Benue leaving only three survivors that sustained serious injuries.
October 29, 2006 – A Nigerian ADC Airline Boeing, 737 with 104 on board, crashes minutes after take-off from Abuja’s airport during a rain storm. All but 6 perished in the disaster.

And to add one to the growing list (till the government decides to do something) we have the Iju-Ishaga story, June 03, 2012.

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