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Bellview: We Heard a Loud Bang, Then Fire’

Posted by Yusuph Olaniyonu on 2005/10/24 | Views: 1517 |

Bellview: We Heard a Loud Bang, Then Fire’


The type of noise that preceded the crash of Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Bellview Airlines in which 117 people perished on Saturday evening was one which the village head of Lisa, a small community in Ifo Local Government, Ogun State, Chief Sadiku Odugbemi said he never heard in his 62 years.

View Picture of the crash site


The type of noise that preceded the crash of Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Bellview Airlines in which 117 people perished on Saturday evening was one which the village head of Lisa, a small community in Ifo Local Government, Ogun State, Chief Sadiku Odugbemi said he never heard in his 62 years.


Odugbemi who spoke to THISDAY in front of his house yesterday evening just before he went to lead the Maghris (evening prayer) congregation said the loud bang shook the 16 household in the village to their foundation at about 8.30pm.


"We really could not fathom what was happening until when we heard the eventual crash and we saw fire. But because it was already dark we just stood watching until around midnight when we all went back to our houses to sleep," he said in Yoruba language.


He explained that the village  was handicapped in that there was no electricity as the electrification project embarked upon by the past state administration had not been completed. Also, the venue of the crash was inside the bush, around the farmland area at the boundary the village shared with a neighbouring settlement, Layemi village.


"In the morning, we despatched four people to go and investigate what happened and locate the exact place. The people came back to tell us that it was a plane that crashed and that the crash took place in my own farm and the boundary with Layemi family.


"We then sent two people to Sango Police Station to go and report what happened," Pa Odugbemi said.


Lamidi Odugbemi, one of the two emissaries sent to the police station, said on their way they saw a politician aspiring for a position who is from the village and when they told him of their mission, the man volunteered to telephone the Ogun State Police Public Relations Office in Abeokuta and relay the message.


"After we were sure we had passed the message to the police, I left for Lagos where I also told my brother, Chief Dele Odugbemi about the incident. He was the one who telephoned African Independent Television (AIT) to tell them of the correct location of the plane crash," Lamidi Odugbemi told THISDAY.


The village head said the plane crash was the first major incident in the area. He said the huge crowd that had been thronging the village was unprecedented. He said the last time the village witnessed an unusual crowd was when his father, the last but one village head, Ali Odugbemi was being buried some years back.


"We are saddened by the event but grateful to God that he spared our village. We however want the top government officials including the deputy governor of Ogun State and other top dignitaries who visited the scene of the accident would see how bad the roads are and the electrification projects. They should help us. I also want them to help me in particular because my farmland which had cocoa, kolanut and other plants. The destruction to my farmland had crippled me financially.


"I also implore the government to site one major project in this village in remembrance of the people who died and for the benefit of the people of this village who would suffer some trauma for a long time to come," Pa Odugbemi said.


Lisa Igbone village is an Egba settlement inhabited by about 450 people who hole up in the 16 houses in the area.


It could be assessed from Ijoko Salt factory area (Ogba Iyo) of Ifo Local Government after the railway line, through Oyero village which is larger and more developed community.


The residents of Lisa, Layemi and Oyero villages are all Egbas with homestead in Abeokuta township, the capital of Ogun State.


 

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