Ethiopia airline crash, building collapse in Lagos, Ibadan and other touching stories of the week

March 16, 2019

In the past days of the week, the country has been faced with tumultuous and heart-breaking events that have left many families in tears, pains and anguish.

These tragedies, most of which have been attributed to human error than natural disaster, claimed lives of both young and old, while some are at the mercies of doctors for treatment and survival.

In this report, PREMIUM TIMES brings to fore the sad occurrences that dominated the media space during the week.

Ethiopian airline crash

On Sunday, Nigerians woke up to the news of the Ethiopian plane crash that had 157 passengers and crew members on board, with no survivor. The sad occurrence claimed the lives of people of different nationalities, making it an international tragedy.

The aircraft, Boeing 737 MAX 8, plunged into a field minutes after take-off from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people aboard.

In the breakdown of the passengers’ countries of origin released, there was a Nigerian, 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians, eight Chinese, eight Americans, seven Britons, seven French citizens, one Egyptian, five Dutch citizens, four Indians and four people from Slovakia.

Countries of the deceased have been mourning some of their great national ‘assets’, who lost their lives in the crash.

For Nigerians, the loss of a Nigerian-born Canadian scholar, Professor Pius Adesanmi, sent grief down the hearts of many. A candlelight procession in his honour, was organised in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan and Ilorin.

Mr Adesanmi, a satirist, public commentator and a columnist for multiple national newspapers was honoured in Carleton University, where he headed the African studies institute, before his death. The university came up with a memorial fund to support exceptional students’ education.

Another Nigerian, Abiodun Bashua, an ambassador, was also a victim of the disaster. Before his demise, Mr Bashua was a UN expert who had extensive experience in several United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa.

Meanwhile, the United Nations came together on Friday to honour its 21 staff members, who were among the 157 lost to the crash with the remembrance ceremonies held at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.

“We come together in sadness and solidarity to pay tribute to our fellow UN family members who perished,” UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said after laying a wreath in remembrance of the workers.

Although the airline officials have commenced investigation in to the cause of the ill-fated Ethiopia airline crash, nine countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Nigeria, have taken the decision to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 operations in their airspace, pending further investigations.

Lagos building collapse

Still in a solitary mood, Nigerians on Wednesday afternoon got the news of a three-storey building which collapsed in Ita Faji area of Lagos Island with over 16 dead bodies recorded.

According to a Reuters report on Friday, 20 people were killed and 45 others survived in Wednesday’s building collapse.

“Commissioner Jide Idris gave no details of how many children were among the dead but he said 10 children and four adults were still receiving medical help,” the report highlighted

Aside the dead, many other persons injured were rescued from the rubble and taken to different hospitals for treatment. According to the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), at least 40 pupils, including 10 dead bodies were pulled out of the rubble on Wednesday.

The police, through the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Intelligence Investigation Department (SCIID), Panti, Yetunde Longe, said it has commenced an investigation into the building collapse.

The Lagos State governor, Akinwumi Ambode, who described the situation as an unfortunate one, stated that the foundation of the collapsed building is an old one.

“Like what you have seen, two floors have gone under the ground. It is only the pent house and the other floor that children have been rescued,” Mr Ambode said.

However, following the directive of the governor, officials of the State Building Control Agency, led by its acting general manager, Omotayo Fakolujo, have begun the demolition of 80 buildings earlier marked for demolition.

Residents had protested, highlighting that if the building was brought down by the state government when it was marked, it would have averted the loss of Wednesday.

Multiple road crash in Anambra

On Wednesday, not less than 20 people were crushed to death by a tanker containing kerosene at Upper Iweka Onitsha, Anambra State, with many reportedly injured.

Also, on same day, at Ibughubu Market, Umuchu, in Aguata local government area of the state, six lives were lost to an accident involving a truck loaded with cement and a lorry.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said that six persons lost their lives while 14 others sustained injuries in a multiple road crash at Upper Iweka Road, along the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Onitsha on Wednesday.

“Six persons, four males and two females, died instantly while 14 others sustained injuries. The victims were taken to Toronto Hospital and Borromew Hospital, Onitsha,” Kunapayi Adodele, the Sector Commander of the corps in Anambra, said.

However, the state chairman of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Peter Katch, said the organisation evacuated seven corpses to Toronto Hospital Morgue while four persons sustained injuries.

“A tanker loaded with kerosene lost control and rammed into people and killed a lot of them from MCC Bus Stop down to Peace Motor Park gate.

“Seven dead people were deposited at Toronto Hospital Mortuar, and one other person we took to the hospital is still receiving treatment.”

Ibadan building collapse

Barely two days after a three-story building collapsed in Lagos Island in Lagos State, a two-storey building collapsed in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Friday.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the building, an uncompleted site, collapsed around 5.50 p.m. on Friday.

The affected building is located in Sogoye, along Bode, Molete area of Ibadan.

Though details of the incident are still scanty, our correspondent gathered that some site workers are still trapped, as at the time of filing this report.

A witness told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday that about three people who sustained various degrees of injuries have so far been rescued from the building.

However, the Oyo State government, on Saturday, disclosed that there was no casualty in the building collapse incident.

In a statement by the state commissioner for information, culture and tourism, Toye Arulogun, the government stated that the multi-agency rescue operation team set up by the governor was able to achieve the evacuation of all victims from the collapsed building which was under construction, as at the time of the incident.

He added that the injured, who are in stable condition, have been taken to the hospital while no death was recorded.

While admonishing building construction practitioners to desist from cutting corners and using cheap materials, the spokesperson further stated that an investigation into the incident will be carried out by the relevant agencies.

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