DANA AIR CRASH: FAMILIES PROTEST AS FASHOLA UNVEILS CENOTAPH


SAYS ADOPTED KIDS ARE DOING WELL

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, unveiling the plaque  bearing names of the 157 men, women and children who lost their lives following the crash of the Dana Boeing McDonnel (MD-83) Aircraft on Sunday, the 3rd of June, 2013 during the First Year Memorial and Unveiling of Cenotaph in honour of the victims at the Dana Air Crash Site in Iju-Ishaga, Ifako-Ijaye Local Government, Lagos, on Monday, June 3, 2013. With him are: First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola (right), Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed (2nd right) and others

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, unveiling the plaque bearing names of the 157 men, women and children who lost their lives, with him are First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola (right), Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Wale Ahmed (2nd right) and others

There was mild drama today at Iju-Ishaga, as top government officials gather to unveil the cenotaph in memorial of the 157 passengers that perished when the Dana plane crashed into a building in Iju-Ishaga on Sunday June 3rd, 2012.

The families who thronged the venue with placards were visibly angry that Dana is yet to settle families in line with standard international practice. Besides,  those who lost properties have been left to lick their wounds due to failure of government to respond to their needs.

But speaking at the ceremony, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola in a speech laden with a lot of emotions said memories of that day are probably “as fresh as they are painful; particularly today when you are forced to confront the thoughts you may have pushed to the innermost recesses of your minds, just to enable you get from one day to the next.

Many of us cannot even begin to imagine how great your suffering must have been this last one year. “We can only empathize with you, in the vain hope that our empathy will bring some relief. We can only utter words we know will never fill the voids but which we nonetheless pray will bring some comfort. What I do know is that today, although our grief is deep and our sense of loss unquantifiable, our heads are not bowed.We are not crest fallen. Your undying spirit to continue and your presence here today is a sign of monumental courage”, Fashola said. He recalled the story of miraculous survival of four kids whom the state has adopted.

“But the story of that family I will share with you. Electricity had a part to play. A mother and a father in a building close to this site were spending time with their 4 (four) children. The mother was plaiting the hair of the youngest child, a girl. They did not have power. Suddenly, electricity came and the whole community knew. Strangely their flat did not have power. The father instructed the eldest child to get the local electrician to come and solve the problem so that they could iron their uniform in readiness for school on the next day, a Monday.

“The boy took some time returning, so the father sent his younger brother to go and locate him. In pure innocence, the third child, a girl, followed her brother.  As soon as they stepped out of the building, Dana Air flight 992 descended on their home. They became lost in the massive crowd. The eldest was eleven, followed by the nine year old and the seven year old. Their parents and youngest sibling were consumed by a flight they did not board”, he said, adding that God works in wondrous ways.

“I met them at the site on the 4th of June. Our paths have remained intertwined since then. They are doing well. They have become a lifetime commitment for my wife and I to ensure that their promise is fulfilled. Their origins are in Enugu State. But their home is Lagos. The home of all Nigerians, and this memorial will always remind us about how we met”, he said.

Fashola said events of the faithful day has been documented adding that the state is now well prepared than ever before.

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