Nigeria: How do we make sense of our predicament?

Published on Pambazuka News, by Sokari Ekine, June 6, 2012.

One terrorist attack, one plane crash with the evidence pointing to serious criminal negligence and one ‘accident’ due to an incompetent crane driver or malpractice.

Just two days into the week and Nigeria is facing its third disaster. It started Sunday morning with yet another Boko Haram suicide bomb attack against a church. The numbers killed varies between 12 and 15 and many more injured at the Living Faith Church in Bauchi BellaNaija The bombings have become so normalised that they hardly warrant more than a few tweets and a column in the daily papers. The government is weak and has lost all credibility and direction, like being set afloat in the Atlantic on a flimsy raft.  

By Sunday evening the country was once again in shock. At around 3.45 -4pm Dana Air Flight 992 from Abuja to Lagos crashed into a high density neighbourhood just outside Murtala Muhammed airport killing all 153 on board.

11 miles from the airport, the crew reported they had lost power in both engines. The plane proceeded in the direction of the landing runway, clipped a power line and crashed on top of a residential building some 1500 meters from the runway. The aircraft was 22 years old and previously belonged to Alaska Air. We are still waiting for the numbers of dead killed on the ground plus the many injured.

As always when there is a crisis in Nigeria, Nigeria’s Twittersphere threw itself into free fall mode with all caution discarded and the noise levels reach deafening proportions. Tweeps moved between despair, disparaging self-hate, crying for God’s help and slightly patriotic calls to stand as one. What kind of a country? How does one deal with a terrible disaster in an environment lacking in basic amenities and services – roads, first responders, hospitals, lack of electricity, water? What a shambles, corruption, ineptitude, resilience, hope? How do we make sense of ourselves and our predicament … //

… For a timeline of Nigeria’s air crashes between 1969 and 2012, see Nairaland Forum.
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