FLASHBACK: Sultan Maccido, Professor Ake … other prominent Nigerian victims of deadly air mishaps
NIGERIANS have yet to recover from the rude shock that followed reports of the crash involving a Boeing 737 plane belonging to Ethiopian Airlines. The aircraft, conveying nationals from 35 countries, crashed on Sunday after taking off from Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, and left no survivors.
Two Nigerians were on the ill-fated aircraft: Pius Adesanmi, who was a professor and director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University, Canada; and Abiodun Bashua, former AU Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan.
This is, however, not the only plane crash involving Nigerians in recent time. According to a timeline of 96 major airline accidents since 1998 by the BBC, in all five took place in Nigeria—causing the death of hundreds of people.
According to one report, over 2000 persons have lost their lives as a result of different plane crashes in Nigeria between 1969 and 2012. In this report, The ICIR shares the story of some of these victims.
19th Sultan of Sokoto and former President General of Nigeria’s Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Ibrahim Muhammadu Maccido, was one of those who lost their lives in a crash involving an Aviation Development Company (ADC) airlines flight from Abuja to Sokoto. The tragic event took place on October 29, 2006.
His son and senator, Badamasi Maccido; a second senator, Sule Yari Gandi; Abdulrahman Shagari, son of former head of state; as well as Sokoto’s deputy governor, Garba Mohammed, and education commissioner also died in the plane, which according to reports crashed in a storm as soon as it took off at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. The plane was conveying 100 passengers and five crew members, out of which only nine persons survived.
Also on board was Dr Nnennia Mgbor, a first female otolaryngologist (ENT surgeon) in West Africa.
A month to this incident, there was another crash of an air force Dornier 228 aircraft conveying senior military officers to Cross River State from Abuja, killing 12 military personnel.
A report by the United States Federal Aviation Administration revealed the ADC crash was as a result of “pilot’s incorrect action”.
“Just before the crash, alarms began sounding in the cockpit and the pilots’ incorrect actions stalled the plane. Although bad weather may have created the situation, which the pilots reacted to, they reacted inappropriately,” the report explained.
Professor of political economy, Claude Ake, died in an air mishap during a flight between
Port Harcourt and Lagos on November 7, 1996. The plane, a Boeing 737, which also belonged to the ADC, crashed close to Ejinrin, Lagos State, after it lost control while attempting to avoid mid-air collision with another aircraft. A total of 143 passengers died in this disaster.
Ake, who was aged 57 at the time, was renowned as “one of Africa’s foremost political philosophers,” and was famous especially for his work on development and democracy in Africa. He held academic positions at various universities around the world, including Yale University, Columbia University, Carleton University, University of Dar es Salaam, University of Nairobi, and University of Port Harcourt, where he was pioneer dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences between 1971 and 1991. He was a social commentator and passionate critic of authoritarian rule.
Abimbola Rosemary Odukoya, a Nigerian pastor, writer, televangelist, and wife of Taiwo Odukoya the founder of Fountain of Life Church, was one of the 108 occupants who died as a result of the Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 crash of Saturday, December 10, 2005.
Fondly called Pastor Bims, Odukoya was also a well-known conference speaker and marriage counsellor. She was a multiple-award winner, both locally and internationally, for her efforts towards nation-building in Nigeria.
Odukoya was on her way to Port Harcourt for a programme by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), where she was going to talk to young attendants when the crash took place. She sustained severe injuries from the plane crash, leading to her death the following day. She was buried on December 21, 2005, at the Victoria Court Cemetery, Lekki.
Celebrated broadcaster who anchored multiple shows on radio and television in the 1990s and former spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Levi Ajuonoma, was a victim of the Dana plane crash of Sunday, June 3, 2012. There were 153 persons on board, but no one had survived the deadly aviation disaster.
Then president Goodluck Jonathan had declared a three-day national mourning period to honour the victims of the collision.
Ajuonoma hosted ‘Open House Party’, an entertainment show, on RayPower for many years. On the NTA and other television channels, he also hosted ‘The Sunday Show’, ‘Levi Ajuonoma Live’, and ‘Showtime’. Earlier in his career, between 1977 and 1979, he was an announcer at the Imo Broadcasting Service, Owerri.
He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Huntington College, USA, a Master of Arts and PhD in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota in 1983 and 1987 respectively, and an MBA from Plymouth State College in 1989. He, thereafter, worked as an Assistant Professor at the Keene State College’s Journalism Department, before returning to Nigeria.