Forgotten Ejigbo Military Plane Crash Victims - P.M. News

Forgotten Ejigbo Military Plane Crash Victims

pmnews-placeholder

Twenty years after the Nigerian Air Force transport plane, a Hercules C-130, crashed in Ejigbo, a suburb of Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, nothing has come out of the probe into the incident that took the lives of the entire 166 occupants of the aircraft.

The only semblance of remembrance is the newspaper advertorial placed by the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji , Nigeria, on Wednesday, which announced an Islamic prayer on Friday, 28 and a Christian prayer on 30 September for the deceased.

Signed by Brigadier-General Tanko Gaiya, the advertorial called the victims of the crash, who were then students of the Senior Course 15, fallen heroes. The list included 104 senior army officers, 17 Naval officers, 17 Airforce officers, eight foreign officers, 11 Nigerian Airforce crew and nine others.

According to the AFCSC, “these fallen heroes have been immortalised with a modern cenotaph constructed at the Senior Course Students’ Hostel.”

Apart from this, everyone else, including the government of the day, may not even recall the incident which has remained evergreen in the hearts of family members, wives and children of the victims. While the women have continued to cope with widowhood, the children have remained fatherless casting their burden upon their already challenged mothers.

But did these military officers —many of them in the ranks of Major in the Army, Lieutenant Commanders in the Navy and Squadron Leaders in the Airforce— die of man-made errors? Many Nigerians will answer in the affirmative with fingers pointing in one direction —the leadership of the country at that period.

Their journey to death actually began on 23 September, 1992 when they left Jaji in Kaduna for Lagos and were to return on Friday that week, but it was not possible. That Friday, which was 25 September, the aircraft which had one of the best crew members at that period, had a fault that needed to be fixed. The ill-fated military aircraft with four engines flew the next day after it was allegedly fixed.

Three minutes after taking off from the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, with three failed engines as some sources claimed, the last engine failed while the plane was trying to ascend. The aircraft fell into the swamp which flows through Ejigbo to Mile 2, FESTAC and Apapa. This was around 4.30 pm.

Though the controversy following the actual number of officers involved in the crash has not ended, the manner the Ibrahim Babangida administration handled the situation made many Nigerians suspect the government knew more than it was saying.

Apart from the fact that the government or military authorities did not officially inform the victims’ family members about the incident, it took the military rescue team about 48 hours to respond, while men of the Federal Road Safety Commission, who were the first government officials to get there, appeared 24 hours after the incident.

Only 27 bodies could be recovered that Sunday. The Fire Service joined on Tuesday, three days after the crash and by Wednesday, 56 bodies had been recovered.

The total number of bodies were finally recovered the following Sunday by the rescue team which relied majorly on cutlasses and axes until Julius Berger Plc came to the rescue. They were buried on 5 October, 1992.

No panel of inquiry was set up to probe the incident. The government also did not make any effort to recover the black box which was flown out of the country for study.

It is also disheartening that 20 years on, the decoded voice in the black box recovered from the site has not been revealed, thus fuelling speculations that the government of that period had a hand in the incident. The then Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida only visited the site on Wednesday, four days after the crash.

General Sani Abacha, who stood in for the government at a meeting with the families of the victims, had promised that the government would cater for them, but till date, this promise has not been fulfilled.

In 1994, it was learnt that a directive was issued from the office of the Chief of Defence Staff that all the widows should be given letters to take to their various state’s military administrators for accommodation, against the terms of the promise earlier made. Some of the administrators responded while others simply made promises, and there it ended.

Today, many of the widows and their children still squat with family members.

This apart, the widows were also denied their husbands’ gratuities, the Peugeot cars given to military officers of the rank of Captain and above were denied some of those whose husbands were not privileged to have received theirs before the crash.

In frustration, the widows represented by Mrs. Hadiza Pindar, Doorshima Ada’a, Franca Odache and Nwano Eze-Ukagha had petitioned the Human Rights Violation Commission headed by Justice Chukwudifu Oputa for redress. Then the military authoritiy agreed to fulfil the promises, but gave no date for the beginning of implementation. Till date, none of the promises has been kept since 19 September, 2001 when the agreement was reached between the family members and the military authorities.

Though the list below is incomplete, it provides a reminder of some of the victims in the crash.

LIST A: ARMY:-Lt Colonels

1. S.A. Onipede N/2888

2. A.J. Ibiyeye N/33300

3. J.A. Agber N/2712

4. B.A. Ibanga N/3315

5. J.O. Okafor N/2803

6. G.O. Ikoli N/5402

7. S.K. Aladesuyi N/3259

 

LIST B: ARMY:- Majors

1. C.D. Nwambuowo N/5587

2. E. Ezenwa N/3039

3. M.H. Leramoh N/2889

4. S.O. Yawus N/5956

5. S.S. Agada N/5975

6. E.O. Amechi-Okoro N/5861

7. O.O. Mba N/5945

8. E.J. Onwe N/3196

9. S. Bature N/6085

10. T. Zubair N/5465

11. F.U. Bassey N/6018

12. O.G. Akise N/3207

13. J. Shija N/3217

14. A.B. Famowei N/5936

15. A.A. Itodo N/6043

16. J.O. Okobo N/6047

17. K.A. Opgwu N/6058

18. M.S. Dambata N/6063

19. P.S. Stephen N/3389

20. S.O. Amaga N/6095

21. C.U.M. La’ah N/6092

22. I.A. Abolade N/6102

23. W. Adaa N/6112

24. E.A. Ushibe N/6207

25. J. Ugo N/3356

26. S. Abubakar N/3459

27. G. Josiah N/4362

28. Y. Aliyu N/3471

29. G. Ismaila N/3474

30. M.I. Ukeh N/3191

31. S.A. Jibunoh N/6173

32. I.U. Odache N/3482

33. I.E. Mauzu N/6181

34. P.O. Bamidele N/6185

35. I.D. Nock N/6187

36. D.S. Oyelola N/6186

37. L. Nyanayo N/6192

38. N. Obie N/6195

39. R.N. Nwankwo N/6197

40. C.T. Akpe N/6208

41. R. Okeowo N/6291

42. R.A. Olufe N/6292

43. E. Egoro N/3423

44. A.G. Jegede N/3443

45. A.H. Dombe N/3477

46. P. Yaro N/3488

47. A.Y. Abbas N/4221

48. C.O. Egharevba N/4222

49. F. Ogbebor N/5460

50. B.A. Anebi N/5461

51. G.O. Oyefi N/5467

52. I.K. Nwuke N/5470

53. V.S. Kure N/5483

54. J.A. Tokula N/5484

55. T. Abina N/5486

56. B. Kadiri N/5489

57. C. Mungu N/5502

58. A.N. Ebiringa N/5506

59. O.A. Ogunaike N/6032

60. B.B. Sadiq N/4028

61. S.O Gbenro N/4646

Related News

62. T.I. Adahada N/4747

63. C.E. Ogben N/5102

64. O. Babalola N/5115

65. E.W. Ekanem N/5474

66. C.T. Arowololu N/3216

67. M.S.Ogbeha

68. I.J.Raiya

69. D.O.Okoroji

70. M.A.Agoyi

71. V.U.Mukoro

72. A.E.Mshelia

73. J.A.Audu

74. S.A.Oisamoye

75. A. Bala

76. M.A.D.Badamasi

77. E. Ukagha

78. K.E.Osula

79. N.A.Kajero

80. B. Daranijo

81. M.O.Ajibola

82. U.A.M.Balami

83. S. Omakwu

84. A.O.Obiora

85. A.A.Kawonta

86. C. Otti

87. O.O.Olusanya

88. O.J.Mbaka

89. P. Iyayi

90. T.O.Ogunjobi

91. G.N.Nze

92. H. Onwuegbunam

93. M.A. Pindar

95. O. Adebayo

96. B.O. Potsha

 

LIST C: ARMY:- SGT

1. M. Bahagoo

 

LIST D: ARMY:- CIVILIAN STAFF

1. O.B. Oshoodi – MOD

2. M.A. Abu (Mrs) – MOD

3. A. Okpe – Reporter.

 

LIST E: AIR FORCE

1. Wg. Comdr. J.P. Alabesunu

2. Wg. Comdr. A.S. Mamadi

3. Sgn. Ldr. J.A. Adeiza

4. Flt. Lt. S.O. Adamu

5. WO. M.J. Wakala

6. P.S. Tarfa Saidu

7. WO. M.J. Datong

8. Sgt. A. Soyemi

9. Sgn. Ldr. Okon Okon Effiong

10. ,, John Husainu Tela

11. ,, K. Odubanjo

12. ,, F.O. Akede

13. ,, Habu Saidu

14. A. Duson

15. T.A. Clement

16. R.O. Yusuf

17. S.O. Oyerinde

18. N.O. Alege

19. M.T. Njidda

20. J.K. Osho

21. E.O. Ikwue

22. M.M. Gumel

23. A.A. Ndule

24. E.J. Ekpong

25. A.O. Atteh

26. O.Jaja (VideoCameraman)

 

LIST F: NAVY

1. Lt. Cdr. E. Obelen

2. ,, K.A. Fauka Bello

3. ,, S.O. Odusola

4. ,, O. Shiejir

5. ,, E.J. Gabriel

6. ,, A.O. Ojekunle

7. ,, K.O. Igwara

8. ,, A.O.G. Aboruwa

9. ,, S. Lasisi

10. A.A. Amaino

11. E.N. Okafor

12. T. Awoniyi

13. P. Asoro

14. P.N. Amangbo

15. O.O. Onabolu

16. J.O. Omokhuale

17. C.O. Ochigbono

TOTAL: 146

—Eromosele Ebhomele