Bellview: Group claims responsibility
A shadowy group claiming to represent Niger Delta interest yesterday claimed responsibility for the crashed Bellview 210 plane.
Simply identified as Coalition for Militant Action in the Niger Delta (COMA), the group in a statement in Port Harcourt last night and signed by Alliance Leader, Alaye Temi and Chief Strategy, Architect David Igbi said that they will continue to target those who oppress the region.
The statement titled: "On the crash of the Bellview Airplane Boeing 737 on the 23rd of October, 2005: read:
"The Coalition for Militant Action in the Niger Delta (COMA) by this statement accepts the responsibility for the crash of the Bellview Airplane Boeing 737 which crashed into a remote area of Ogun State last Saturday few minutes after take-off.
"The crash at Ogun was not the expected outcome and was due to a failure of an installed deprogrammer aboard the airship.
"Let us once again state that we resist with vehemence the continued detention of the flag-bearer of the Niger Delta struggle, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari and until he is unconditionally released, we will continue to vent our anger on agents and infrastructures of the Nigerian state. They that haunt will be haunted. Those that sow deceit and discord will have fury visit them in their backyards.
"The continued explanation and despoliation of the Niger Delta will be resisted with all our might. The vain glory vaunted by the falsehood called Nigeria shall be called to nought. We will state again that if Dokubo-Asari is not released in good time, we shall release fear and insecurity in the hearts and minds of every cohort of the Obasanjo regime. This government is a fraud, utterly vindictive and lack the will to provide to the Niger Delta, the quality of life that they deserve.
"The Coalition of Militant Action (COMA), is a strategic alliance of all militant groups in the Niger Delta who reject the strange decision of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force to stay militant action. Alliance members include: The Isein Justice Movement, Ijaw Militant Group, Niger Delta Guerillas, The Ogoni Justice Seekers, the Movement for Mass Militancy in the Niger Delta, Judgement Day Coalition and several others.
"In our earlier communications, we maintained that "Our actions will be swift, heavy hitting and decisive. Nothing will be the same again. You do not abduct a leader and flagbearer like Dokubo-Asari and still believe that all can still be well." We stand by all these.
"All Niger Deltans and friends of the Niger Delta are advised to stay off suspected targets. There shall be no vindictive action on the basis of tribe and ethnicity. Fury action taken will be focused on interests and agents of the government of the Nigerian state.
"We therefore call on all Niger Deltans to support our cause. We have been pushed to the wall and have turned about. It is either Dokubo-Asari is released OR they will see no peace.
"Let us now begin to watch and pray."
Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero may have goofed as government yesterday said Black Box of the ill-fated Bellview aircraft which crashed last Saturday at Lisa, Ogun State, has not been found.
Ehindero had told reporters at site of the crash that the black box had been found by his men.
Confirmation to this effect, is coming even as government has officially invited United States government to assist in unraveling mystery behind the tragedy.
Ehindero, who visited the accident scene in company of Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG Operations) Mike Okiro and outgoing Ogun State Police Commissioner, Tunji Alapini had said that the box was found on Sunday and handed over to an investigating team by a Police rescue team led by Commissioner of Police (Air Wing), Charles Cole.
However, Minister of Aviation, Prof. Babalola Borishade, same day countered the claims, saying the box is yet to be recovered as the aircrafts fuselage, location of the box, is yet to be pulled out from a crater made by the crash.

Refuting IGP’s claim, yesterday, NCAA Director-General, Fidelis Onyeyiri, who spoke through his media assistant, Sam Adurogboye said: "There is no misinformation on this matter. The Black Box has not been found."
The NCAA, however advised anyone who by accident stumbles on the box, to hand it over to the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIPB) of the Ministry of Aviation.
On assistant from the U.S. government, the NCAA spokesman said the authority has written to the US government on behalf of the Federal Government for assistance concerning investigations into the crash.
"Nigeria has made request in all areas including investigations, escavation and getting to the root of the accident as well as upliftment of the nation’s aviation industry" he said.
A letter in that respect, made available to journalists, dated October 24, 2005, addressed to US government through its embassy in Abuja stated thus:
"We wish to refer to the telephone conversation between the Hon. Minister of Aviation and the Consular-General of the Embassy of the U. S in Lagos.
"Following this discussion, we wish to formally request for technical assistance in our determined effort to move the aviation industry forward especially in the light of the recent accident involving a Boeing 737 aircraft in our country."
Meanwhile, the AIPB of the Ministry of Aviation has said it will be conducting an eye-witness interview of persons with credible information on the crash.
A statement issued by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), signed by its General Manager (Public Affairs) Niyi Ajakaiye, said persons with useful information relating to the crash, from the time it took off till the time of crash, are requested to report in person at the Baale of Lissa Igbore’s residence today.
"It also said second segment of the interview will take place between October 31 and November 5 at the Boardroom of FAAN in Lagos.
© 2005 @ Champion Newspapers Limited (All Right
Obasanjo back at work, visits the bereaved
By Charles Ozoemena, Kolade Larewaju & Kenneth Ehigiator

Posted to the Web: Wednesday, October 26, 2005

*Orders review of domestic aircraft

*Ogun declares Friday public holiday

ABUJA — PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo was back at his desk yesterday and ordered a review of the safety of aircraft operating on domestic routes following the crash, last Saturday, of the Bellview Flight 210.
A hundred and seventeen people died in the crash, just a few hours before his wife, Stella, passed on at a Spanish hospital.
The president also asked Nigerians to observe a minute silence at 12 noon today in honour of the dead. He himself visited families of some of the crash victims in Abuja to condole them.
These were the families of Chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Alhaji Waziri Mohammed; Chairman, Bolingo Hotels, Abuja, Chief Joseph Igweh; and Post Master General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Argugu.
President Obasanjo in a radio/television broadcast yesterday described the crash and the death of his wife as God’s decisions. Nigerians, he said, should therefore use the period to forgo their differences and "come together, grief together, console each other, strengthen our faith, consolidate our hopes and rededicate ourselves to the cause of our country and humanity.
"Those who have lost their lives may not be with us physically, but you can be rest assured that they are with us in spirit and would want us to be strong at all times. We must draw strength from this adversity and show to ourselves, communities and the world that we are a people with a goal and with the will to put our past behind us and move forward together.
"While I take this opportunity to thank all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria who have expressed condolences and are observing the period of national mourning, I will also implore Nigerians to redouble our efforts along the lines of implementing our reforms, the result of which are becoming obvious.
"I also wish to, as a mark of respect to the memory of all those who lost their lives on the night ofSaturday to Sunday, the 22nd and 23rd of October 2005, implore all Nigerians wherever they may be on Wednesday, the 26th of October 2005, at mid-day, to stop whatever they may be doing wherever possible,maintain a one minute silence and pray for the repose of the souls of the departed, the comfort andconsolation of the bereaved, and for peace, security and protection of our dear country." Stressing that he was personally touched by the double tragedy, he consoled the families, relations,friends, acquaintances, associates, co-workers, and loved ones among the victims of the air crash,declaring:

"I believe that the accident must have impacted on many lives in unexpected ways. My brothersand sisters, let me assure you that I personally feel and share your sorrow and pain. I can imaginepositive plans that have become suddenly terminated.
"That is our family experience in the demise of the mother of our own household. I can see hopes for thefuture that have unexpectedly receded into seemingly unattainable horizons. The nation shares in thismoment of grief and our prayers are with you.
"Let us take solace in the fact that only God, our Creator understands the reasons for everything. Wecannot because we are limited in vision and comprehension. God never makes mistakes and has aplan for everyone. We must be strong and never give Satan the opportunity to negate our faith, corrupt oursouls, and divert us from the strong bonds of unity and love that bind us together as a people. My condolence goes to the families of non-Nigerians who were victims of the air crash," he said.
Revealing that his wife travelled on holiday without noticeable illness, he directed the Ogun State Government to organise an Inter-Faith Memorial Service at the site of theBellview flight crash at Lisa, Ogun State on Thursday, October 27, 2005.He thanked Nigerians and foreigners alike who have sympathised with him on the tragic incidents, saying he appreciates "the outpouring of condolences, sympathy, visits and solidarity from all quarters in the country and from outside the country. I believe that this adversity should strengthen our resolve to remaincommitted, strong and unshaken in our effort to make Nigeria a great country that God has created toactualise her potentials. We are already on the path to greatness through our comprehensive reform agenda.We must not waiver or get diverted, distracted, confused, or discouraged.
"After the period of mourning, let us move on. My experience in life tells me that the departed wouldhave wanted it so for Nigeria, a country that most of them had lived and died for. Let our sharing ofsorrow and solidarity translate to our resolve not to look back or slide in our collective commitment toreform and the repositioning of our country for peace, security, stability, harmony, growth, development and progress."I pray that God will give us all the inner strength, peace of mind, and capacity to bear the losses that wehave experienced and empower us to come out of this situation, stronger, more united, more determined to love one another, and closer to God in all that we speak and do," he said.
Ogun declares Friday public holiday
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Government yesterday announced that it would tomorrow organise an interdenominational service for the repose of the souls of the 117 passengers and crew of the plane. The service is scheduled for Lisa Igbore village where the accident occurred, and time is 8a.m.
Meanwhile, Governor Gbenga Daniel has declared Friday a work free in honour of the First Lady, late Mrs Stella Obasanjo, whose remains will be interred in Abeokuta on that day.
The governor appealed to the people of the state to come out en masse to "honor a golden heart who throughout her life was dedicated to the cause of humanity, especially the care of children."