IT is a moment of mourning and deep sorrow for many Nigerians as several sources, including his close friends, confirm the death of Pius Adesanmi, famous author, professor, and director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University, Canada.
James Yeku, a graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan, and Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, a columnist, who are both close associates of Adesanmi have both confirmed the incident.
“A star fallen off the sky, on the wings of the morning,” Yeku wrote on Sunday evening.
Omoyele Sowore, 2019 presidential candidate of the Africa Action Congress and another of the professor’s close allies, also took to Twitter to confirm his demise.
“I just confirmed that one of our best, Pius Adesanmi, died in that Ethiopian airliner that crashed. It is a sad day,” he tweeted.
Likewise, Dele Momodu, publisher of Ovation International, lent credence to the report on the same platform.
“My very dear friend, Professor Pius Adesanmi, was in the crashed Ethiopian Airlines plane,” he wrote. “My God, why Pius, that prodigiously brilliant gentleman. Rest in Peace, a great son of Africa.”
Momodu, in a second tweet, confirmed that Abiodun Bashua, former AU Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan, was also involved in the crash.
Mireille Tushiminina, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, providing details, said Adesanmi was scheduled to attend a meeting of the Citizens and Diaspora Directorate (CIDO) in Nairobi.
“Although all AU staff and most participants are safe, we have lost two participants coming from the diaspora,” she wrote.
“Prof. Pius Adesanmi, Carlton University in Canada, one of the few professors who taught about the AU and Agenda 2063; and Mr Karim Safi, one of the most active diaspora youth in Europe and one of the founders of African Diaspora Youth in Europe (ADYFE).
“We pray for their souls and for their loved ones at this time,” she added.
“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me,” Adesanmi wrote on his Facebook wall at 6:56am on Saturday, quoting Psalm 139:9-10. He had attached a picture of himself as he held his Canadian passport and boarding pass.
Asides Adesanmi, the crash had involved 148 other passengers, including eight crew members of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 MAX on a routine flight to Nairobi, Kenya, and no survivor has yet been recorded.
The plane with registration number ET-AVJ, carrying passengers from more than 30 countries, departed from Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa at 08:38 am and crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62 kilometres southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, the airline said.
The airline’s Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam in a statement said the passengers included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians, eight Chinese citizens, eight Americans, seven British citizens, seven French citizens, six Egyptians, five Dutch citizens, four Indians, four people from Slovakia, three Austrians, three Swedes, three Russians, two Moroccans, two Spaniards, two Poles and two Israelis.
Countries such as Nigeria, Somalia, Rwanda, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Belgium, Mozambique, Sudan, Uganda, Indonesia, and Yemen each had one citizen onboard.
In July, last year, Adesanmi was involved in a road accident along Oyo-Ogbomosho road, Oyo State, while travelling to Lagos to board a flight to Dakar, Senegal, for a meeting.