Crash: The Anyenes reject Dana compensation, urge reform
The Anyenes, which lost six members and three in-laws to June 3, 2012 Dane plane crash, met again on Saturday and resolved not to negotiate for any financial compensation from the airline for their loss.
The family members were in Lagos from their bases to hold first year memorial lecture and service of songs in honour of victims from the family.
Spokesman for the family, Christian Anyene, who is a medical doctor based in New York, said the family’s interest was beyond financial compensation.
He said, “Keeping the family together within the last one year was tough, but as children of a catechist in the Catholic Church, we were determined to move on. It was rough but we were resolute in our decision.
“The Anyene family wishes not to deal with Dana Air to negotiate any compensation. We lost a whole family and money will not bring them back.”
Christian said the family would rather appeal to the Federal Government to show interest in the life of air passengers.
“We will prefer that the government erects functional air safety measures so that no family will suffer such a painful loss again in Nigeria. To honour more than 150 victims of the crash, government should show more interest in the safety of those who choose to fly.”
Onyeka’s mother had to be taken away from the event as she broke down in tears a few minutes after entering the venue. But Christian insisted that the family members were putting the grief behind them.
He said, “I’m quite glad that we are at this stage. A year ago, we were depressed, we cried and grieved for months.
“Today, We have out sad event behind us. We remember the successful life that my brother, Onyeka, his wife, Maimuna and their four children lived. They used their God-given gift to help many others and that is what we remember them for a year after their demise.
“When he was leaving Connecticut, US for Nigeria, I went to the house and picked the whole family and our in-laws to the airport, I never knew that I was seeing them for the last time. A week later, they were all gone.
“When Onyeka was born as twins, the civil war had just started in Nigeria and I helped in taking care of him and the twin sister because our father was posted away from where we lived. He was an active boy in his youth and his brilliance earned him success in the short life he lived.”
Wife of the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alex Ekweme, Beatrice, who is Onyeka’s aunt, said it was important to recognise the positives in the lives of the victims.
She said, “I was in Onyeka’s house when I heard the news. We were waiting for his arrival but instead of welcoming him, we heard of the tragic news of his death and that of other members of the family. It’s a day we wish to put behind us.”