Monday 3 June 2013

Dana Crash: Forgetting our ground zero

by Cheta Nwaze

On Sunday, June 3 2012, James Ogbonaya was settling down in his sitting room to watch the Nigeria-Namibia World Cup qualifying game. He had the generator turned on because, well, at that point, power had taken flight from his neighbourhood in Iju-Ishaga for a few weeks.

The game was set to kick off at 4 p.m, and James, an avid football supporter, was looking forward to a good game. Then, a plane landed literally on his head, and took away his house, those of his neighbors, the lives of all 153 souls on board, and a yet to be truly determined number of people, on the ground.

Speaking with a reporter from the Nigerian Telegraph, Ogbonaya said almost in tears, “Personally, I know how I suffered to get an accommodation (sic) compared to the amount Dana management gave us. At the initial stage, we didn’t want to collect the N200,000 they gave to us to get an accommodation, but for the views of so many people who advised us to collect it.”

Like other people in the story, which by the way focuses mainly on the ground victims, Ogbonaya is one of the vulnerable in a society where might is right. Which really, is what Nigeria is. A society that which accords respect based not on human dignity per se, but on how much money you have in your pocket.

This is the reason why another vulnerable group, our children, are at risk from paedophilia. And no, I disagree with the writer here. Paedophilia is not a new thing in Nigeria, it is just getting easier to talk about it as cultural barriers break down.


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