Me, Myself & I

The World the way I see it

Another Black Saturday

Posted by Luminus on December 13, 2005

I should have put this post up yesterday but I was still too distraught to compose my thoughts and the extremely hectic day at work yesterday was a welcome distraction from the trickle of disjointed thoughts that besieged my mind.

Saturday, the 10th of December proved to be another black saturday for Nigeria and Nigerians. Just 42 days after a Bellview Airline plane flying from Lagos to Abuja crashed in the remote village of Lisa, killing 117 people, another commercial airliner, OSL 1145 belonging to the fleet of Sosoliso Airlines flying from Abuja to Port Harcourt crashed leaving 107 people dead. There were 102 passengers and 7 crew members. Here is the official manifest for the flight.
Among those on the plane were foremost televangelist and one of God’s leading ladies in Nigeria, Pastor (Mrs.) Bimbo Odukoya, the Associate Pastor and wife of the Senior Pastor of The Fountain of Life Church. She was one of the seven people who initially made it out of the plane but was said to have died later due to her injuries. There were also 52 students of the Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja who were heading home for the Christmas break.

The most painful thing for me is the fact that this was totally avoidable. First of all, according to this news article on The Punch Website, JAT Airways, the Serbian National Airline confirms that the plane is 32 years old as they bought it in February 1973 from its builders, McDonnell Douglas (which has now been a part of Boeing since 1997) and used it for 27 years and then sold it to Sosoliso Airlines along with three others in 2000.

JAT sold the ageing planes to Sosoliso because they could no longer meet most European standards due to loud noise levels produced by the jet’s two engines.

If the airline that initially owned the aircraft sold it because it was no longer considered airworthy, does that not make anyone who buys them either stupid or brain-dead? Who in their right minds would buy a 27 year old plane? These are just a few of the questions begging for answers

JAT pilots who flew some of Sosoliso’s planes and engineers who worked on them had complained about “poor safety and air control standards? in Nigeria.

This is a direct indictment of the Aviation Authorities in Nigeria. I don’t know about anyone else but I think this just stinks. I’m tired of Nigeria and Nigerians promoting and revelling in mediocrity. We condone mediocrity on practically every level, and we talk about foreign investors, what a load of bullshit.

As it is, nothing works, everything is in shambles. Let me save this endless tirade for another post and another day.

Personally, I feel that If you can’t run a particular kinda business, you should move on and do something you’re good at. If you can’t run an airline, for Pete’s sake find some other bloody line of business.

Secondly, I heard that the pilot that flew that plane into Abuja before it’s final ill-fated flight said on national TV that he couldn’t land the plane for 10 minutes due to some problems with the plane itself and not with the runway or control tower. Is that not enough of a warning signal? Sholdn’t that have triggered a maintenance check of the plane? Call me an Idiot but I still say this was totally avoidable and I put the entire incident to gross incompetence on the part of the airline.

I fully agree with one of the parents of the deceased children who said “They murdered our children”. The people that died died of severe burns, where was the Fire Service? Somebody please answer me. I’m winded from even thinking about this whole scenario. My thoughts are all jumbled up.

My heart goes out to Pastor Taiwo Odukoya and the entire Fountain family. My heart also goes out to all the Parents who lost their children in the crash. Some families lost as many as 3 children, a father said “Now, I have no one to call me daddy”. Some families are fighting over the reamains of their children as the bodies are so badly burnt that identification is a problem. My heart also goes out to any and everyone that lost someone in that crash. It’s so sad.

We need to stand up as a nation and stamp out mediocrity. We need to fight the scourge of ageing airliners flying our citizens. We need to understand the value of one human life (How on earth could Sosoliso keep flying when they were aware of the crash). We need to make the system work. I could go on and on but I’m so emotionally drained I’m not even making any sense anymore.

God Help Nigeria.

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