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CDRW blames federal government over the Bellview plane crash

Press statement
25 October 2005

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights [CDWR] unequivocally holds the Capitalist System, it’s insatiable greed and consideration for profit for a few over and against the consideration of safety, comfort and respect for human lives in general responsible for the death of 117 people on board in the colossal crash of a Boeing 737 – 210 plane owned by Bellview Airlines that nose-dived in a crash at Lisa, a village near Ifo, Ogun State on Saturday 22nd October 2005.

Nigeria has witnessed a colossally unprecedented amount of about 16 mishaps under 6 years rule of the Obasanjo PDP led Government which include fatal crashes that usually lead to the death of all passengers and crew on board. However, most of these accidents would have been avoided, but due to lack of safety measures and regulations that should be adhered strictly to by airline operators, Governments and their numerous agencies. The relevant government agencies saddled with the task of enforcement of strict adherence to safety rules by all stake holders so as to constantly maintain and put aircrafts in good conditions certified ‘air worthy,’ and also to ensure that various airports are equipped with ‘state of the art’ equipments including other navigational aids, functional control tower in good condition, good and adequate runways, up to date radar installation etc, are not alive to their duties obviously due to lack of motivation, training, equipment, lack of commitment by the government etc that may not necessary be due to any fault of the workers but that of their employers, managers and government at large.

The Bellview airliner was built in 1981(25 years ago), which makes it obsolete according to Nigerian laws that aircrafts older than 22years of age should be banned. The few known causes of air crash are, gear refusing to eject, landing gear developing mechanical faults, tyre burst during landing, veering off the runway due to over flooding, bad weather that causes poor visibility, engine catching fire on air etc. But most often, the root causes of air crash remain unknown even when the recovered black box is supposed to reveal a lot of information about the cause as well as a whole lot of other details to the world. This is due largely to the fact that the authorities and managements do not want the general public to get such information as it might result into bad business for them and further expose their hypocrisy and anti - people ideas to the world.

The utter bankruptcy of the Obasanjo led Government was consolidated when in a sheer waste of time and resources the minister of aviation, Professor Babalola Borisade, on a wild goose chase the next day, led a rescue team of about 5 helicopters that searched the over 20 kilometers of jungle between Kwara and Oyo State in search of the crashed Bellview airline for survivors of an accident that happened on Saturday at about 7pm or thereabouts when the control tower lost signal of the aircraft 3 minutes after take off from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos and later crashed at Lisa, in Ogun State. Rescue operations by officials of NAMA, FRSC, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Red Cross, and the Nigeria Police finally arrived the scene of the crash 14 hours after the accident to gather the remains of the passengers and the air craft. Fire fighters from the Federal Airport Authorities of Nigeria (FAAN) did not get there until about 3.00 pm on Sunday. These acts grossly show the short sightedness, insensitivity and unprepared ness of government and its relevant agencies to contain and manage emergencies.

A colossal amount of taxpayers fund was wasted on procurement and installation of a Nigerian satellite supposedly to study weather and beam signals to Nigeria from space as prided by the Obasanjo led government ostentatiously. The said satellite was however mounted, not in Nigerian air space but in far away Russia. The question is, of what use is a satellite that cannot beam needed signals or aid communication, the primary purpose for which it was launched?

We demand for system change and also demand the resignation of president Obasanjo, the minister of Aviation, minister of Information and the entire cabinet for woeful colossal failure of the PDP led federal government. We also call for an independent public enquiry comprising all stake holders including families of victims of the ill fated plane, civil society groups, the mass media (both local and international), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) Labour and Pro Labour Organisations etc so as to bring the mysteries surrounding the plane crash to the fore. The decoding of all information recorded in the ‘black box’ (the flight data, voice recording and communications made by the victims, radio signals and communications by the crew etc) must be witnessed by those expected to form the committee with a view to accurately alert and inform the world the circumstances that led to the ill fated plane crash so that lasting solutions could be proffered to prevent unnecessary waste of lives and properties.

Rufus Olusesan

Victor Osakwe
General Secretary