Crash-site robberies

on   /   in Editorial 4:07 am   /   Comments

THE recent sad crash of Associated Airlines plane just outside the perimeter fence of the domestic wing of Murtala Mohammad Airport, Lagos exposed, once again, an ugly side of our society, which has become a regular occurrence.

As soon as the crash took place, people rushed to the scene. Majority of them were genuine sympathisers eager to lend a helping hand to save fellow Nigerians, dead or dying, from a most traumatic accident.

But among these were hoodlums, whose primary agenda was to rob the victims of their material belongings. These are usually the first to arrive accident scenes because it ensures they would be able to loot as much as possible before the law enforcement agents and well-meaning rescuers would arrive.

It is a pity that it is these evil people that always get there first rather than the law enforcement personnel and other specialised agents trained and equipped for rescue operations, who ought to get there first and secure the scene to enable full, professional processing of accident scene.

Time has come when the authorities specially set up to deal with these sorts of emergencies engaged the public to partner with them in securing crash sites against the invasion of thieves and looters, whose activities invariably compromise investigation that helps to prevent future occurrences.

There is also need for the government, the media and civil society to debunk the notion that air travel is a pastime, which the rich and the corrupt engage in to show off their affluence.

Views being expressed by many commentators in the social media networks give the impression that plane crashes are like judgements pronounced on the rich and corrupt. It is this mentality that drives urchins, who invade crash sites to commence orgies of looting of victims.

Our people must be made to understand that air travel is part and parcel of modern society; just another means of transport. Every person, irrespective of their social standing, will have the opportunity or need to travel by air some time in their lives.

They must also understand that the wealthy people are not necessarily the enemies of the poor and vice versa. Not every so-called wealthy person is corrupt or achieved that status by oppressing the poor. We live in a society, where social mobility is free. Nigeria is not one of those societies, where the poor have no hope.

The truth is that those, who engage in this evil act also practise it upon road accident victims, which shows the act for what it really is: Evil criminality that every right thinking member of society must shrink from. The law enforcement agents, on getting to crash sites of any sort, must be prepared to apprehend culprits, parade them and visit the full weight of law on them.

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