By SAM EYOBOKA, ISHOLA BALOGUN & CALEB AYANSINA, Abuja
COMING barely 16 months after the crash of a Dana Airline in which about 150 passengers died, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos and founder of Household of God Church yesterday, said the news of the death of 13 persons aboard the ill-fated Associated Airline, “portends a bad omen for the aviation sector in Nigeria.”
President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Most Rev. Adewale Martins and Rev. Chris Okotie, in separate messages, said it is of a great importance for the Federal Government to take a practical step to address all forms of shortcomings militating against the sector.
Pastor Oritsejafor said: “Again, CAN restates that the frequent air crashes in the Nigerian aviation sector is the result of the Nigerian factor which receives strident denunciation in policies, passionate homilies of the clergy and tirades of well-meaning Nigerians, yet nothing works. It shows that take-off and landing remain the most dangerous aspects of flying in Nigeria’s aviation industry.
“We call on the Federal Government to come up with practical measures that would reduce the margin of errors in traffic air signals, mechanical faults and bad weather.
“It should also undertake periodic investigations of the financial base and repair history of the Airlines operating in Nigeria in order to ensure that they do not adopt short-cut policies that would endanger air travelers,” the CAN president said.
Oritsejafor, however, sympathized with the families of victims of the ill-fated aircraft, the government and people of Ondo State, adding, “CAN offered its deepest condolences to the families of victims of the ill-fated aircraft, the government and people of Ondo State and prays that God, in His infinite mercy, should give them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. Our thoughts go to the bereaved Agagu family as we continue prayers for protection of those the late former governor Olusegun Agagu left behind.
The Catholic Archbishop, His Grace Martins, in a statement signed by the Director of Social Communication, Monsignor Gabriel Osu, prayed God to give Agagu and the 13 other families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
He described the plane crash as most unfortunate, especially coming at a period when the country was yet to recover from the shock of the several loss of lives recorded in multiple attacks spearheaded by members of the Boko Haram sect at the eve of the nation’s 53rd independence anniversary.
Martins urged all well meaning Nigerians to intensify their prayers to avert more bloodshed in the country, even as he called on the Minister of Aviation, Stella Odua, to speed up efforts towards making air travelling in the country safer and in conformity with acceptable international standard.
In his message, Okotie said he was horrified at the scale of the tragedy; “What a tragedy! My heart goes out to his family at this sad moment and I pray that God comforts the survivors of the victims over this unfortunate incident. The death of the late Governor was painful enough; what a great irony that mourners accompanying his body would also lose their lives in this way. I pray for the repose of these souls, Amen”, the pastor added.
Also, the UPP said it was deeply shocked and dumb founded over the crash of Associated Airlines plane conveying the remains of Dr. Agagu in Lagos Thursady.
‘’We are pained and saddened over the double-tragedy and commiserate with the families of those who lost their loved ones. We also pray for speedy recovery of those injured in the crash.
‘’We are worried about frequent air crashes in the country and urge the Federal Government to take necessary action to avoid a repeat of this fatal crash. May God Almighty comfort and strengthen the families that lost their loved ones as we collectively build a decent society,’’ the National Publicity Secretary of UPP, Chief Ogbuehi Dike said yesterday.