THREE years after the Dana Airline plane carrying 153 passengers crashed on Sunday, June 3, 2012, in Toyin area of Iju Ishaga, the neighbourhood is still suffering from the effects. The Dana Air flight 992 crashed into
a three-storey building and there were no survivors. It also killed some of the people residing in the building. It actually affected two buildings. In a chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, Alhaja Ojasope lamented that the government has not helped the community enough.
When last did you see government officials at this memorial arcade?
The last time government officials visited was two years ago, that’s 2013. They came here with the former governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola. That was when the incident was one year. They came with clergy men to pray for people who lost their lives. They also brought flowers. But since then, we have not seen them again. It was last week that a woman came around, she said her husband was one of the victims, so she brought a pastor and some people to pray here. She paid a man called Taiye N10,000 to cut the grass.
Who has been taking care of this arcade? Are there security men?
There are no security men but there is a man named Taiye, he has the key to the arcade. He is the one taking care of the place. But we heard that the contract of taking care of the arcade was given to some other people from Alausa, but those people pay Taiye to take care of the place. He once complained that they have not paid him for over seven months. So, he stopped cutting the grass. That is why you can see that there are weeds and grass growing in the arcade. Due to this, reptiles have turned the place to their home.
After the incident, has the government done something for this neighbourhood?
At least, you are here and you can access for yourself, apart from the other entrance of the memorial arcade that the road was tarred. Some months after the incident, they have not touched other places, especially where the plane came through. Although they brought tractors and other machines but they have been parked in a compound and they have been promising to repair our roads since two years now.
There are rumours that people hear strange sounds at night and some claim to have seen ghosts?
That is a lie, in this area I am the one living closest to this arcade. We share the same fence and I haven’t heard anything of such. I am the only one living in this house for nine months. I am the owner of this house. When the incident happened, my children left the house because they were afraid. They told me to come with them but I refused because I can’t just leave my house. At a point, I was sick due to loneliness and my children thought I would die, but I stood my ground not to leave my house. When I recovered and was on my feet, my children came back home. We now live together.
Are you aware if the owners of the affected houses were compensated?
The land belongs to two people, but the man who has a larger part of the land did not collect money. He was affected more, he is Pastor Omowunmi Daniel. He doesn’t live in this area anymore, he was here last week to see me.
‘Govt should hand over the sanitation to us’
– ADEWOLE ORIOWO, Ex-chairman of the community
What has the government been doing since the plane crash?
The government has not really done anything than one of the roads they constructed after the incident, and ever since then, they have not done anything else. They promised that they will construct all the roads that link to the scene of the crash. They are still on the project but I don’t know what is keeping them. Work is supposed to have started three months ago on the remaining roads. I don’t know what is keeping them.
What else do you want the government to do as regard the crash?
The roads are the major problem of the community right from time, but they promised to work on it. What is delaying them is what I don’t know. All the materials are ready, let them start work, that’s all I want from the government.
Have they organized any memorial service in respect of the victims?
They have not organised any memorial apart from the one they conducted a year after the incident in 2013.
Has the government been taking proper care of the scene?
I overheard some people say that they saw a lady cutting the grass just of recent. Normally, I think what the government should do, is to hand over the sanitation of that place to us, because we are close to the place. They prefer leaving it to labourers who are close to the place. We are supposed to be taking care of it because we are nearer to the place. But they prefer giving the contract by themselves.
What do you want to do as regards taking care of the place?
I want them to allow the community take care of the clearing because people complain about snakes from that place. If the place is not well taken care of you should be expecting reptiles.
Do you know if the government has compensated the owners of the affected houses?
I don’t think so, because even the families of the victims I don’t think the government has done anything to support them. Only Lagos State gave N4 million, but the most affected person rejected it. They said their property was worth N500 million, but they were only given N20 million and they rejected it.
Is it true that people hear voices at night around the place?
Anybody that sees a ghost or hear voices at night must be a double minded person. I don’t believe that is true. It is possible for them to see ghosts or hear voices at night because they have more than two eyes and ears like every normal human being.
Are you still the chairman of the community?
I am not the current chairman but I was when the incident happened.
– MATILDA ALOYSIUS