In the aftermath of the double tragedy of Sunday 3rd June, notably the tragic air mishap of a Dana Air passenger plane which claimed over 160 lives and the Bauchi bomb blast, the whole of Nigeria is terribly saddened and outraged by these unfortunate events. President Goodluck Jonathan visited the crash site yesterday, and was apparently so overwhelmed with emotion that he shed tears. The picture below captured that iconic moment:
Whether you believe the President’s tears indicated a genuine outpouring of grief and empathy or otherwise, this is an iconic picture and is symbolic of the mood of the whole country. But then, as I noted earlier, this plane crash in itself is not unique in terms of the number of casualties or scale of devastation. Rather, it simply drove home the point that there is a needless loss of innocent lives in Nigeria today as a consequence of human (non)action: whether in plane crashes, road accidents, in hospitals, at the hands of criminals and murderers, as victims of bomb blasts, as victims of extrajudicial killings by trigger happy policemen and so on. The picture below, a “munched” (snapshot) of a friend’s Blackberry messenger status update, drives home this point clearly and forcefully, albeit with a touch of humour:
The message which is an instruction of sorts, reads thus:
“How to cross Road in Naija: look left and right for moto (car), look up for aeroplane, down for Bomb then walk zig zag to avoid straight Bullet!”
Its quite hilarious but then it is a sad reminder of the insecurity in the country. Hundreds have died this year alone.
As the plane crash has awakened all Nigerians to the grim reality, let it also be a wake up call to the authorities to be alive to their responsibilities: for regulators across a broad range of sectors to perform their mandated duties and ensure customers and consumers’ lives are not risked on the altar of stupendous profits and for all Nigerians to remain vigilant. So far, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the license of Dana Air. This is a welcome development and Nigerians await more stringent measures to clean up the sector. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.