One of the families of the victims during the wreath-laying at Itoikin, in Lagos
Relatives and friends of the 144 people who died in the ADC crash on November 7, 1996, gathered in Itoikin on Ikorodu-Epe Expressway to lay wreaths at the crash site on Sunday.
It was quiet and solemn as loved ones arrived at the final resting place of the casualties 25 years after and laid wreaths at the cenotaph by the Itoikin bridge, as well as praying for them.
Captain Augustine Okon, the chairman of the Aviation Development Company, ADC, made a brief statement saying that the crash was caused by an error by the Air Traffic Control, ATC.
He said the error was confirmed by an investigation conducted by the then Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau, AIPB.
“It was an air traffic control error, two aircraft was by mistake vectored on a head-on collision with each other, what we would have observed today would have been the tragedy of losing two aircraft”. Captain Okon stated.
It’s been over 25 years now, Captain Okon said, since the victims’ families have been crying and their lives have been changed forever.
He asserted that while such memories will never be lost, friends and loved ones must learn to move on.
“For families who lost loved ones, it has been very, very difficult for all of us, I don’t want to cry today again, I beg you all please, let’s us move on but let us remember each other in our prayers, he said.
The brother of the captain of the Ill-fated aircraft, Mr Dafe-Urhobo Sama urged the families of those who lost loved ones to continue to pray for the strength to bear the loss.
“God bless your courage, bless the widows and widowers, let us keep the spirit together, let us pray for ourselves as families, we are one family, 086 is a very ugly incident but this is a beautiful family am seeing”.
As names of victims were read out, the officiating priest urged them to be comforted by the assurance that their loved ones had moved on to a better place.
Reporting by Nosa Aituamen; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare