News / Africa

    Nigeria Crash Stirs Political, Economic Fallout

    The wreckage of the Dana Air plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria, June 6, 2012.The wreckage of the Dana Air plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria, June 6, 2012.
    x
    The wreckage of the Dana Air plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria, June 6, 2012.
    The wreckage of the Dana Air plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria, June 6, 2012.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Heather Murdock
    ABUJA - Nigerian authorities have identified 52 of the bodies from the plane crash in Lagos that killed all 153 passengers on board and at least six people on the ground. The government has suspended the license of Dana Air, promised to audit every airline in Nigeria and punish anyone responsible for wrongdoing. Analysts say this government's credibility and its ability to implement key policies are eroding in the aftermath.

    Nigeria ended three days of national mourning Wednesday for the crash of Dana Air flight 992, which crashed into a crowded residential neighborhood in Lagos, killing everyone on board and several people on the ground.

    Assigning blame

    Aviation Minister Stella Oduah says air traffic control records indicate the plane went down after its engines failed:

    "From records of communication and radar tracking, the flight went smoothly until 3:42 pm when the captain called air traffic control at Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos declaring mayday. Mayday is a distress call. And reported a dual engine failure," said Oduah.

    The flight's black box has been sent to the U.S. to try to determine what made the engines fail. In Nigeria remains the real question, who is to blame?

    Nigeria has a notoriously poor air safety record, with 110 recorded air crashes since 1943, killing nearly 1,500 people.

     

    Here are some of the more notable recent air disasters. 

     

     

    • October 29, 2006: An ADC Airlines flight crashes and burns just after take-off from Abuja. 96 killed.


    • September 17, 2006: A Nigerian Air Force plane carrying high-ranking officers crashes in Benue. At least 6 killed.


    • December 10, 2005: A Nigerian Sosoliso flight crash lands in Port Harcourt. At least 106 killed including more than 50 schoolchildren.


    • October 22, 2005: Nigerian Bellview Airlines jet crashes just after take-off from Lagos. 117 killed.


    • May 4, 2002: Nigerian EAS Airlines jet crashes in Kano. At least 148 killed.


    • September 26, 1992 Nigerian Air Force C-130 crashes just after taking off from Lagos. More than 150 killed.


    Speculation can be found on street corners all over Nigeria, the airline must be bribing someone to pass safety checks. The company knew the plane was bad, but wanted to make a profit.  

    One newspaper reported that some company managers have since fled the country, citing unnamed and unverifiable sources.

    Dana Air says the plane went through strenuous safety checks before taking off, pointing out that a commercial airline crew would not embark on a "suicide mission."  

    Dana Air is a four-year-old company and part of the Dana Group, a Nigeria-based organization that has sold pharmaceuticals since the 1980s and now also sells food, cars, medical equipment and other products in addition to operating the now-grounded airline.   

    Government backlash

    Bello Ibrahim Turkin Gwandu, a political analyst and former managing director of the Nigerian Port Authority, said it is possible that the crash was purely an accident, but the Nigerian people have seen a lot of carnage in recent years, and they will ultimately blame the government.

    "It's coming at a period where morale is very low as a result of previous event that happened with Boko Haram and some activities that were against other religions and the considerable amount of social tension that is happening especially with regards to security," said Ibrahim.

    Opposition politicians have pounced on the disaster, saying it is a direct result of mismanagement and corruption. Ibrahim adds that regardless of the cause, the crash erodes the government's credibility, which is already suffering from increased security threats and the fact that average people are getting poorer despite an economy that is growing larger.

    Aderemi Oyewumi, an international relations specialist on the editorial board of Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper, says without a "holistic" approach at restoring faith in the airlines, the crash could harm the government's ability to attract international investors, a key tenet of the government's economic policy.

    "Nigerians should expect heads should roll in the aviation industry and that the government should get really serious about monitoring the airlines, making sure the aircrafts that they have are properly maintained and cutting down on graft in the sector," Oyewum said.

    Foreign nationals lost in the crash of what was a domestic flight between Abuja and Lagos include Chinese, French, Lebanese, Canadians and Americans. President Goodluck Jonathan visited the site Monday, and has since ordered a technical audit of all the airlines in the country.

    "I'm here with members of the National Assembly, and we will thoroughly investigate this, and the technical team will carry out their responsibility to tell us what went wrong," Jonathan said.

    On Wednesday, the president vowed to investigate the "remote and immediate" causes of the crash and punish anyone found responsible. He also promised support to the transport sector, saying the crash was a "regrettable setback" to the government's plans to expand air travel in and through Nigeria.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: George from: Las Palmas, Spain
    June 08, 2012 6:45 AM
    In a few years , Nigeria will be 100 years OLD!. "In the abundance of water we still go thristy" in Nigeria...Saving monies when you do not have good roads, your Universities are crumbling, A country of 160 million citizens and there is no rail mass transit system you can count on, never expect electricity supply and the list goes on. Then there is the issue of persons who have turned the public treasury into their private estate, and Boko Haram with their madness.
    Mr. Jonathan is MICRO MANAGING the country, Challenges from all direction and the administration seems paralised. 37 Billion dollars in reserve, and still Nigeria seems overwhelmed by solvable problems. What are the ministers there for, what are they doing to help Mr. President? I just pray that the President will find the courage to clean his administration of incompetent pen pushers. We need a functional country in every sense of the word.

    by: Robert Yuna from: USA
    June 07, 2012 9:43 PM
    Dana Air is NOT an Indian-owned company. Wholly owned and registered Nigerian.

    by: Obi from: Lagos
    June 07, 2012 6:43 PM
    Why won't you tell us that Dana is an INDIAN OWNED COMPANY?

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora