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Aftermath Of Dana Crash: Maybe Govt Will Now Consider Our Plight •Iju-Ishaga Residents Speak On Deplorable Condition Of The Community
Reminiscent of the Bellview plane crash of October 22, 2005, which brought a little known village called Lisa in Ogun State into limelight and also attracted the crème de la crème of the nation’s leadership cadre into that poor village, the attention of the entire world was once again called to another obscure part of the country, albeit in another tragic circumstance when a Dana aircraft with about 153 passengers on board crashed into a residential building on Sunday, June 3, 2012, at Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos State.
While on a visit to the community where the ill-fated aircraft crashed, Saturday Tribune was greeted by a network of roads which were in a deplorable state, a condition that was also exacerbated by a downpour that had just been recorded on the day of the visit, which made the journey to the crash site very strenuous. Needless to say, this type of condition has somehow become synonymous with the nation’s transport sector and has for ages become the defining factor of many roads in the country.
The poor state of the roads leading to the crash site, it was gathered, had made quick accessibility difficult for rescue workers as well as fire-fighters in their quest to reach the hapless victims trapped in the burning aircraft.
To confirm the poor state of the roads in the community, Saturday Tribune went round some of the streets such as Poopola and Okusanya which serve as links to the crash site, and discovered that they were all in a state of disrepair, while motorists, motorcyclists (as well as tricycles, popularly known as marwa) and even pedestrians were finding it difficult moving on the them.
However, according to Saturday Tribune’s findings, contrary to what has been reported in some quarters, Iju-Ishaga, particularly the community where the crash occurred, is neither a slum nor a well developed community. It is just like any other average community in the country where hundreds of houses are densely clustered together with very little space made available for future development and road expansion.
When Saturday Tribune visited the community, many of the residents whose occupations or means of livelihood are not different from those of any other average community in Nigeria, and which range from petty trading to teaching as well as other basic service delivery businesses, could be seen still discussing the sad development in small groups while also keeping an eye on some police officers and members of the state’s Rapid Response Squad (RRS) who had been on ground, apparently to help maintain law and order.
Four days after the crash, what was left of the incident were the rubbles of demolished buildings, a burnt SUV, and dozens of books littering the floor of what apparently used to be a printing press, while a handful of metal scavengers were busy scampering around and scouting for whatever metal they could scavenge from a section of one of the demolished buildings.
“Maybe now, the government will look at this side and provide some of the basic infrastructure, especially good roads that we desperately need. For so long we have faced neglect from successive governments, especially at the local government level, because not even the councillor or our local government chairman, let alone the governor had shown any interest in our plight.
“But now that the president of the country as well as the governor of Lagos State have seen the bad state of our roads, we can only hope that a positive change will come to us in this regard,” said Mrs Eleme Okafor, a petty trader whose shop is a mere stone’s throw from the crash site. She also added that “perhaps if the roads had been in a good state some of the victims could have been alive today because help could have reached them sooner.”
Another resident who wouldn’t want to give his name also revealed to Saturday Tribune that “before the crash occurred we were suffering from poor electricity supply, but this has since degenerated after the crash as our lines had been cut off for obvious reasons. We will like it if this can be restored as the current situation is affecting a lot of business activities in this community, especially those of us who really need it for our day-to-day business transactions.”