RESIDENTS of 12, Olaniyi Street, Iju-Ishaga, Lagos who were affected by the ill-fated Dana Air plane crash last Sunday, have appealed to the Federal and Lagos State governments to provide suitable accommodation for them. They lost all their belongings to the inferno which erupted when the plane crashed into the building and have been living from hand to mouth since the tragedy occurred.
One of them, Odika Daniel said although nobody died in his room, he lost all his property. He is still looking for a place to start his life all over again.
“All my certificates and that of my brothers got burnt. I am a contract staff of British Nigerian Tobacco Company, Lagos. I was at work when they called me that my house was on fire. I got to this place and met the building on fire. We lost four people in the building,” he said.
He disclosed that on Tuesday, the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) came and took them to Ifako Ijaiye General Hospital for medical check-up. “About 16 people went out of about 32 of us living in the house. From there they took us to Ifako Ijaiye Local Government. They said they wanted to resettle us in Ikorodu but we said that the place is far from our place of work,” he said.
Daniel, a 2004 graduate of Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, said that they were later taken to a house in Baruwa-Ipaja. “We did not get there until around 9.pm on Tuesday, 16 of us, including little children. Then they pleaded with us that we should try and pass the night there, that they would come and pick us the following day.
“We left the place in the morning around 7am, got to this place around 11am on Wednesday. Since then, we have been hanging around. The clothes I am putting on were given to me by my friends. I lost my property and money. I have been squatting with a friend,” Daniel added.
Another victim, Chigozie Ngochukwu, a trader, also lost everything to the fire. “I was in the church when it happened (Lord’s Chosen). My sister, Amuche Ngochukwu, who was also inside the house was covered with smoke before she was rescued. We have been hanging around looking for help,” he said.
Odika Isaiah Ifeanyi, 34, a staff of Flour Mills, Agbara said he had just left the house to meet his friend in Egbeda when the plane crashed. “Somebody called me that our house was on fire. Coming back to this place, I could not get an access to my house. The crowd did not even allow me to enter the house. I am left with nothing. The N120, 000 we just paid to renew our rent will expire in May next year. Our landlord is a nice man, we cannot get such a cheap house like that again,” he said.
Ifeanyi, a product of Petroleum Training Institute, Effuru said that the government should try and provide suitable accommodation for them. “We lost everything we have and the government ought to come to our aid. We need better accommodation,” he said.
He added that Dana Airline officials came to assure them that they would assist. “They apologised for what happened and promised that they would assist us. I don’t know where to sleep this night (on Thursday). I believe God will come to our rescue. I will look for one uncompleted building and sleep inside,” he added.
Eweh Ifeanyi Collins, an IT Consultant regretted the incident, saying it caught him off-guard. “Nothing has happened like this before. I went for a Bible study that day with my family at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness at no 15, Adeleye Street, off Agbado Road.
“It was my neighbour, Mrs Oshikoya who called to inform me that my house was on fire. I rushed to the house, thinking that it was ordinary fire. I got home before I discovered that it was a plane crash. Because of the nature of the fire, they did not even allow us to move close,” he said.
He said that he lost his marriage certificate and other valuables to the flame. A father of three children, he is now squatting with a Christian brother. “We want the government to please come and provide us with better accommodation,” he said.