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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

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?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid