The Real Cost of Corruption
Why was no help forthcoming for the passengers who’d survived the initial impact? Indeed, accounts of them dialing their loved ones in panic after the crash and screaming for help inside the plane were quite unbearable. Reports of the position in which some were found, for instance clutching their babies to their chest, were heartrending. Imagining their agony was sheer torture.
Why did it take so long (accounts range from half an hour to two and a half hours) for emergency services to arrive the scene? Especially as the pilot had earlier declared an emergency and radioed in a Mayday? In the interim some residents in the neighbourhood had tried to contain the fire which had started in the cockpit but was yet to spread with pure water sachets! Pure water? My God! Does it get any worse?
Why did the fire service which eventually arrived very quickly run out of water and firefighting foam? Why do we not have emergency air ambulances to transfer injury victims safely and securely to the nearest hospitals? Why were emergency and rescue services unable to secure the crash site, allowing thousands of onlookers to besiege the place thereby severely restricting access by their personnel? Why were the Police, usually only very adept at harassing innocent citizens, suddenly rendered impotent and unable to hold back those gawking officious bystanders?
Why was the manifest released by the airline so inaccurate and sloppy containing names, for instance, of those who’d purchased tickets but did not fly?
Questions arise too from government’s panel set up last week to audit all airlines operating in Nigeria. What exactly is NCAA there for? What about the Directorate of Airworthiness Standards? And the Accident Investigation Bureau? The Flight Standards Group? Were they compromised? Has government lost confidence in their leadership? If so, why are they still in office? Why have they not been sanctioned? If not, why are they not allowed to get on with their statutory duties? Are they institutionally weak? If so why has it taken yet another plane crash for government to wake up to this fact? Another tragedy, another panel. We love to set up committees and throw panels at our problems. And we love to ignore their recommendations. Until the next disaster. We live from disaster to disaster. Why this fire brigade approach to important life and death issues? Medicine after death. Closing the stable doors after the horses have bolted.
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