Over three weeks after their lives changed forever, ground victims of the Dana airline crash of June 3 have continued to suffer great hardship as they struggle with homelessness and loss of property.
The affected residents had afterwards squatted with neighbors and friends until officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency [LASEMA] conveyed them to a relief camp in Ipaja-Ayobo area of the State.
Although most of the affected residents rejected the shelter provided there and returned to their Iju-Ishaga environs, as SaharaReporters previously reported, some of them stayed on as they had nowhere else to go.
The ‘Ground Victims’ as the Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) are mostly labeled, who rejected the Ayobo-Ipaja shelter offered by LASEMA, said the property was already being used as a home for motherless babies. They also cited distance and neglect as the reasons they could not stay at the relief center.
Meanwhile, a group of friends which later identified themselves as SEED, and who organized a candlelight memorial for the victims of the crash incident, said they had expressed their concern with the IDPs by providing another shelter located in Ogba.
In another circle, a group of five families whose clustered apartments were destroyed by the crash were given shelter by Mr. Chike, a man whose building still stands despite a hit that pulled down a section of his fence in the crash.
In all, three splinter groups have formed; the official Ayobo-Ipaja relief camp group; the Ogba shelter in care of the group of individuals; and the families that are with Mr. Chike. This division of the IDPs in different locations has worsened matters for them, engendering some bickering among the different factions as the relief packages coming from various quarters never reach them.
Our reporter learned that the relief supplies from the Lagos State Government only go to the displaced residents who are at the Ipaja-Ayobo relief center, while supplies from Dana Management are taken directly to those who are physically present at the crash area in Mr. Chike’s house. Donations from individuals attracted by the SEED group via social media only get to those residing in the shelter provided by the group at Ogba.
In one of the latest developments, a group led by Barr. Ubani, has unveiled a radio program on StarFM Radio, through which it campaigns for funds and other forms of assistance from parliamentarians for people who are in need of help.
According to Mr. Ubani, he and his colleagues on the programme have already collected about N1million as well as household items which they sent to the crash site at Iju-Ishaga as relief items for the IDPs. Mr. Ubani said the group from StarFM Radio took its assistance to the house of Mr. Chike for the families that are being helped there.
About N1million donated by people into Ubani’s bank account was taken to Mr. Chike’s residence and disbursed to about eight people; some of received N100,000 and others took N150,000. Other items disbursed include clothes and household items.
Upon learning about the goodies in the house of Mr. Chike, some of the IDPs in other locations complained about being left out of the assistance from the StarFM campaign. Contacted about this, Mr. Ubani said he was not aware that there were other shelters apart from the one he visited.
“It is a program coordinated by the parliamentarians. The parliamentarians are the various people who call in on our program conducted on StarFM. A lot of people have been donating money and other stuffs to those that need help through this program, but this time, we made it for those who have been displaced due to the crash incident”, Mr. Ubani told SaharaReporters.
Mr. Shola Popoola, a resident whose house was slightly affected by the crash, confirmed that those from his house who benefitted from the N100, 000 disbursements by the Barrister Ubani led team have gone out to rent new accommodation with the money they received. Others are yet to know when they will be able to resettle.
Ireti Bakare, one of the coordinators of the SEED team which provided assistance to the Ogba relief center, said the team was not aware of any arrangement from any other organization that gave assistance to affected residents at other locations. She also said items coming in through their efforts are only given to those in their shelter.
“We only know about those that are here with us”, said Bakare, noting that the shelter initially had five families but are now six.
The General Manager of LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, commenting on the issues yesterday, told SaharaReporters that LASEMA is responsible for the Government’s relief center, wasn’t carried along by any NGO or individuals in disbursing any assistance to the IDPs.
“These people are not supposed to be anywhere else since the Government has provided them a temporary relief center. They complained about the distance and Government gave them a BRT bus to take them from Iju-Ishaga every day to Ayobo. It is out of their own volition to split anyway they like. I think it is the attitude of our people that is causing all these”, he said.
Dr. Osanyintolu also criticized the assistance approach of DANA management, saying it was wrong for the company to take their packages to the crash site without carrying the agency along since the State Government had taken all the affected residents to a relief shelter away from the site.
But Mr. Chike, in whose house the items from DANA Management and the Ubani-led team were distributed, said all the ‘seriously affected’ residents were in his house. He said nobody else was as affected as those people whom he made sure collected the items from his house.
Mr. Chike also added that both the Government and the DANA Management had delivered relief materials only on one occasion each, With DANA’s items delivered at his house for disbursement, and the government’s at the Ipaja-Ayobo community. DANA was said to have brought mattresses, bathing and laundry items, as well as noodles. Mr. Chike and others said the Government had supplied them food items as well.
According to Dr. Osanyintolu, there are five families permanently residing in the Ayobo-Ipaja shelter provided by the Lagos State Government. Others, he said, are scattered according to their own volition.
Apart from the residents at Mr. Chike’s residence who received the funds that were disbursed there, no other IDPs know when they will be resettled. Of those in Ayobo-Ipaja, LASEMA boss Dr. Osanyintolu assured that the government will resolve the accommodation issue ‘soon’.
The rent of the Ogba apartment where the SEED team camped the six families it is assisting will expire on July 15, but Ms. Bakare said the temporary occupants should have been sorted out before then, although she did not state how.
As of the time of filing this report, DANA Airline has said nothing about the settlement of the displaced residents. The Chairman of the Community Development Association in the crash area, Mr. Oriowo, said that the airline’s officials have only been making promises but have not shown up apart from they brought their assistance packages to the site.