Monday, October 24, 2005

We are All Nigerians Today

117 lives lost from Nigerian plane crash Posted by Picasa

The contemporraneous passing of Nigeria's first lady, Stella Obasanjo, and the perishing of the 117 people on board the Boeing 737 flying under Nigeria's privately-owned Bellview respectively, has brought into sharp relief how indiscriminate death is.

Whether you are the wife of the highest official in the land, or bank officials from Ghana's National Investment Bank attending a seminar in Abuja, or a German or Briton, or even the second top official in the regional grouping of ECOWAS, when your time is up, it's up.

That might sound crude and uncalled for at this very sober time, but what can explain the fact that the highest ECOWAS official (Executive Secretary), Mohammed Ibn Chambas, credited for bringing resolution to a number of crises in the ECOWAS region, is reputed to have MISSED this particular plane?

Reminisces of people who called in sick on that fateful September 11, 2001 comes to mind.

I spoke to my very good friend today who was equally shocked. She suggested that maybe God should just tell us when we are born that you have x number of years on this earth to perform x, y, z. After that time, he will come to take us back.

My question, though, is at what point does He tell us this? And who is to say that we do not forget what He has told us?

Plus, what do you do about such plane crashes where people completely perish like that,where, according to the report on The Star,

A wig, human intestines, clothes, foam seats and a hand were visible wedged in the sodden earth.

And what about this?

A cheque for 948,000 naira ($7,300) from the evangelical Deeper Life church was one of a number of personal papers found in the smouldering wreckage

How do you explain the fact that the person to whom the cheque was destined will NEVER see that money.

The questions go on and on. But what remains is that we will have to thank God for small mercies, and one of that is that the instantaneous death meant that there was no suffering.

Regrettably, suffering for the families of those who perished will remain for some time to come.

May they ALL rest in peace.

Incidentally, I was rather distraught in June this year when, at the airport, waiting to board the plane for Bamako, Mali for a work-related project, we were informed through the tannoy that due to a crash at the airport in Nigeria, the plane had been cancelled.

It wasn't my time to go.

ECOWAS Airline
Speculation was rife in the media last week that ECOBANK is moving towards establishing a regional airline.

Imagine the European Union with its OWN airline, something like EUROAIR? Feasible? Why not? That is if Lufthansa, Alitalia, and BA had anything to say about that?

In the region, they are contemplating ECOAIR. ANd this is no lame idea. A serious amount of capital has been disbursed by no less than ECOBANK, as the private sector arm of the regional grouping ECOWAS, and other ECOWAS-related institutions towards the realisation of something that had been mooted in 1999/2000.

This will not necessarily mean that other operators cannot operate in the region, but it will definitely create the competition that is so needed in this region of circa sixteen countries.

ECOBANK moves towards establishing a regional airline

A regional airline to give the needed impetus to free and easy movement of people and trade development across West Africa, a key protocol of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), is soon to be established.

The Board of Directors of the airline's promotion company has already tasked a four-member steering committee it has put in place to identify an international strategic partner as well as private investors for the project's development by the middle of next month.

Mr Gervais K. Djondo, Chairman of the ECOBANK Group, the principal sponsor, made this disclosure when he led a delegation of the committee to pay a courtesy call on President John Agyekum Kufuor at the Castle, Osu on Monday.

from: ECOBANK moves towards establishing a regional airline

SOBERING STATS for the day


22 October: A Bellview airlines Boeing 737 carrying 117 people on board crashes soon after take-off from the Nigerian city of Lagos,
killing everyone on board.

5 September: A Mandala Airlines plane with 112 passengers and five crew on board crashes after take-off in the Indonesian city of Medan, killing almost all on board and dozens on the ground.

23 August: A Tans airline Boeing 737-200 crashes on an internal flight in Peru, near the city of Pucallpa, with at least 40 people reported dead.

16 August: A Colombian plane operated by West Caribbean Airways crashes in a remote region of Venezuela, killing all 160 people on board. The airliner, heading from Panama to Martinique, was packed with residents of the Caribbean island.

14 August: A Helios Airways flight from Cyprus to Prague with 121 people on board crashes north of the Greek capital Athens, apparently after a drop in cabin pressure.

16 July: An Equatair plane crashes soon after take-off from Equatorial Guinea's island capital, Malabo, west of the mainland, killing all 60 people on board.

3 February: The wreckage of Kam Air Boeing 737 flight is located in high mountains near the Afghan capital Kabul, two days after the plane vanished from radar screens in heavy snowstorms. All 104 people on board are feared dead.



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