Dana plane crash site
By John Iwori
As Nigerians continue to count losses of last Sunday Dana Airline crash at Iju, Ishaga, Lagos, Shippers’ Plaza, the corporate headquarters of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has been thrown into mourning.
This followed the death of NSC Deputy Director, Finance, Mrs. Ogechi Onyeagocha, 46, who died alongside her only daughter, 10-year-old Miss Chidinma Onyeagocha, a pupil of Corona Primary School, Apapa, Lagos, in the ill-fated aircraft.
The incident also threw participants at the just concluded three-day 12th Maritime Seminar for Judges in Abuja organised by NSC into mourning as news of the death of the Deputy Director and her only daughter spread among key stakeholders in the maritime sector of the economy.
When THISDAY visited Shippers Plaza and the nearby Corona Primary School, Apapa, Lagos, where the daughter of the Deputy Director was a pupil, colleagues, teachers and pupils were seen wearing long faces over the tragic death of Mrs. Ogechi Onyeagocha and her daughter in the McDonnel Douglas MA-83 flight 5N-RAM that crashed in the outskirts of Lagos killing all 153 persons onboard.
Many were seen discussing the death of the late Deputy Director and her daughter in hushed tones. Expressing shock over the death of their late colleague under such tragic circumstances, they described her as a peace-loving individual.
On the other hand, erstwhile National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Alhaji Inua Mohammed, and nine other friends and associate who arrived the Domestic Wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja however cheated death as they did not board the ill-fated aircraft; owing to the fact that they needed 10 seats but only 7 seats were available.
Narrating what would have been his final journey on earth, Mohammed who earlier this year was charged to court over his alleged involvement in the importation of prohibited items into the country said: “We would have been in the Dana plane that crashed on Sunday afternoon from Abuja. We were 10 in number, but there were only 7 seats left, so we were advised to buy First Nation Airline tickets. That was our saving grace. Otherwise, it would have been a different story today”.
Meanwhile, the three-day of national mourning declared by President Goodluck Jonathan, in honour of the crash victims was observed in the maritime sector of the economy as many individuals and organisations have either postponed earlier scheduled events indefinitely or drastically scaled down those that went ahead. A minute's silence was also observed at these events for the repose of the victims' souls.
ANLCA was one of the organisations that have put some activities on hold to respect the nation's grief over the crash victims, including the ongoing tour of the association's National Executive Committee (NECOM) to chapters in its Western Zone.
ANLCA National Secretary, Dr. Emma Oparah Ogu, in statement said: "NECOM's working visit to Tin Can Island Port Chapter today has been postponed. This is due to the nation's mourning mood. New dates will be announced later."