Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah, has said that air and other man-made disasters in Nigeria are caused by corruption and ineptitude on the part of government.
Kukah made this known in a speech in Abuja at the memorial symposium and launch of a N500 million fund in memory of the 60 students of the Loyola Jesuit College, who died in the Sosoliso plane crash in Port Harcourt in 2005.
The cleric said disasters were a by-product of bad governance and corruption that have dogged the country’s development.
He noted that the aviation industry has changed and would continue to change, but for the citizens to be safe, Nigeria must ride on the crest of change and appreciate that aviation is driven by precision technology that does not tolerate the culture of ‘managing’.
According to him, “Those who manage the business continue to assure us that we are safest in the skies. The tragedy with our situation is that we are unable to learn lessons because of the “C” word, corruption. For many years, standards were lowered based on corruption, patronage, clientelism and the feeling that aviation is also one way of making money. Often, successful Nigerian businessmen and women tend never to plough their profits into improving the quality of service. The result is that services are poor and expensive.
“What we are reaping is what the hand of fate has dealt us, namely, a tale of tragedy, misfortune and disaster which has come to be known as governance in Nigeria. It is almost impossible to understand how and why other nations like India built on and turned the colonial railways into one of the most prestigious and economically viable areas of employment in their country. Sadly, in our own situation, the areas of our greatest failure such as electricity and public infrastructure have proved to be the most lucrative for the operators”, Kukah added.
He remarked that today, power and transportation have become the bottomless pits into which the nation’s resources are being sunk, adding that the challenge is not so much over the commitment of those trying to turn Nigeria’s sad condition around, but what to do with those in the bureaucracy and outside of it who have come to see our collective suffering as the basis for their enrichment.