Downing of flight MH17 an “apocalyptic end of the world’’ – Nigeria

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Abuja – Nigeria on Friday in New York expressed full support for an independent international investigation into the Malaysian airline flight disaster in eastern Ukraine, which killed all 298 people on board.

Prof Joy Ogwu, the Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, expressed the country’s support at an emergency session of the UN Security Council.

In her statement, e-mailed in Abuja, the envoy described the downing of flight MH17 as an “apocalyptic end of the world’’.

She said the plane went down in an area under the control of the armed rebel groups, urging the rebels “to co-operate fully and unconditionally with investigations into the crash’’.

Ogwu said: “Yesterday at noon, the world watched in horror the downing of the Malaysian jetliner.

“What happened yesterday seemed like an apocalyptic end of the world.

“I think Samantha Power (the U.S. envoy to the UN) described it somehow (in her speech).

“This spectacle is graphically described in the Book of Revelation and I quote: `a hail of fire mixed with blood fell upon the earth; the sun and the earth were darkened.’

“That was what I saw yesterday.’’

The envoy warned that the development was a dangerous trend, which needed to be checked.

“No matter our religious beliefs, this scenario may become a self-fulfilling prophecy if states continue to choose to openly support theatres of conflict in every part of the world.’’

She however said this was no time for any “blame game’’ on who was responsible for the disaster.

Ogwu noted that the plane crash might be connected with the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“If it is established that the plane was shot down deliberately and on purpose, then it will mark a new dimension in the Ukraine crisis.’’

She said it was very important for the facts surrounding the crash to be well “ascertained dispassionately.’’

“We have no doubt that without the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the widespread lawlessness engendered by the activities of the rebel groups in the eastern part of the country, this tragic accident would not have occurred.’’

The envoy who expressed Nigeria’s condolences to the governments and peoples of countries whose citizens died in the crash renewed Nigeria’s call for the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine.

“Nigeria is expecting a return by all parties involved to dialogue and negotiation within the framework of the Geneva statement of April 17 and July 2 four-party talks in Berlin,’’ she said.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the 15-member UN Security Council has called for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident.

It said the investigation must be “in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability.

“The members of the Security Council further stress the need for all parties to grant immediate access for investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident.’’

Earlier on Friday, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, Amb. Bello Ringim, had said the embassy “had no information about any Nigerian on the Malaysian flight.’’

His comments came before the Malaysian airline published nationalities of those on the ill-fated flight.

According to the airline, the 15 crew members on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were all Malaysian nationals.

A breakdown issued by the airline on the known nationalities shows that 189 were Dutch, 29 Malaysian, 27 Australian, 12 Indonesian, nine from the U.K and four from Germany.

Others were four from Belgium, three from the Philippines, one Canadian and one from New Zealand.

The Malaysian airline said authorities were still trying to determine the nationalities of the other four people on board.(NAN)

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