DANA Crash: One Week After, More Tears, Fears For Iju Residents

By TOPE TEMPLER OLAIYA

Wreckage of the DANA plane crash at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos… last week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s been one week since the quiet Iju-Ishaga community of Lagos lost its serenity after it was robbed of its peace by the cruel angel of death, and it may take many more weeks before the former state is restored, if it will ever be.

For residents of the area, particularly those on Olaniyi Street, where the Dana Air Flight 0992 crashed into, it is still a long dream they are yet to wake up from, especially how in a moment, their places of abode became a crash site, and hours later, turned into a tourist spot, attracting citizens and dignitaries alike.
To those who were eyewitnesses to the disaster, one week is not enough to shake off the shock of the crash and the gory sight of burnt bodies. Many of the residents said images of June 3 would live with them throughout their lifetime.

When The Guardian visited the area at the weekend, some women were seen packing out from their houses on Irepodun Street, close to the crash site.

Reason for the mass exodus was because too many airplanes were constantly flying above their roofs, while they were yet to take last Sunday’s incident out of their minds. “Until these aircrafts changed their normal routes, my husband will never see me and my children’s feet in this neighbourhood again,” a woman swore.

In one week, everything has changed in Iju-Ishaga, the influx of visitors, exodus of residents, activities of rescue operations and putrid smell enveloping the area.

Mrs. Wuraola Oladipupo said she is yet to regain her composure since last Sunday. “In my entire life, this is the first time I am seeing people die like chicken. I was in front of my house when I saw the plane coming down on the next building. That is the last I can remember. What followed till date is still a mystery to me. ”

She noted that since last week, the incident has killed commercial activities in the area, as traders could no longer display their wares in the midst of the uncertainty and confusion.

“Nothing has been sold since people started visiting this area. In fact, you will need to be very strong for you to eat or drink anything after seeing the wreckage. It is even worse now that the place has been cleared because what is left in the cordoned-off areas are human parts such as fingers, legs, and ears,” she said.

Another resident, Mr. Ehichoya Sylvester, said the incident is not only a big loss to those who lost family members, friends and property, but also to landlords, who are seeing the worth of their property drastically taking a plunge.

“Until the government invests heavily in this area, first by rebuilding damaged structures and allaying the fears of residents relocating out of the area in their numbers, this place will be deserted,” he said.

“Already, most of the houses around are vacant and I don’t see the former occupants, who witnessed the plane crash, returning, because every time a plane flies over their roof, they are reminded of the black Sunday.”

Mrs. Anike Olagoke, a trader residing in the area, said the only way government could wipe away the tears of the victims, especially those who lost their property to the crash, was to compensate them adequately.

She said: “I hear that it is only passengers who died in the Dana aircraft that their names are being compiled for compensation. What will now be the fate of those who lost all to the crash?

“According to a report, over 200 people died here on Sunday and it is on record that 153 passengers boarded the plane. What happens to the over 60 lives of residents lost?”

President Goodluck Jonathan (left) and Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) at the scene of the Dana Air plane crash in Lagos. PHOTO: PAUL OLOKO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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However, following concerns over alleged plans to bury victims of Sunday’s plane crash at Iju-Ishaga, some residents of the area have appealed to the authorities not to bury the victims in the area, for fear of ghosts. Others have even threatened to relocate if the victims were buried there.

The residents, who based their apprehension on their belief in the existence of ghosts, noted that it was natural that when human beings die prematurely, their ghosts would haunt the scene for a while.

The government has not said it would bury any unidentified victims in the area; however, the residents have latched on to a rumour that is fast circulating in the community and have panicked.

“This is not superstition; I have witnessed where a young man died in an accident and his ghost continued to cry at the scene for days until a sacrifice was performed,” said Idayatu Ali, a resident of the area. “Please, tell them (government) not to bury the victims here or else some of us will abandon our houses.”

Another resident, a commercial motorcyclist, who gave his name as Odewale, has decided to calm frayed nerves in the area by offering his exorcism powers. According to him, his team could easily offer sacrifices to Ogun (the mythical Yoruba god of iron) to get rid of any ghosts.

Reacting, Iyiola Akande, the South-west Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said there were no plans to bury the victims yet, as identification of bodies remains the priority for now.

The Chairman of the Community Development Association, Mr. Adewale Oriowo, said the area has since been in darkness, as some transformers, poles and cables were badly damaged after the crash.

“We have already conducted a poll on the victims and houses affected in the area, which we are forwarding to the appropriate authorities for necessary action. Many organisations and groups have been here to also collect the names of victims and list of affected property.

Though they (government) promise to get back to us, we are yet to see anything, except the palliative measures carried out by LASEMA,” he said.

 

 

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