Sosoliso: A nation with graveyards for history – By NNEDINSO OGAZIECHI
Sunday, December 10, 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of the Sosoliso air crash that killed more than a hundred of our citizens that included about 60 schoolchildren of the Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja as they approached the Port Harcourt International Airport.
Like all air crashes in the past, there are no closures for the victims and their families. From Hercules C130, Belview, ADC, EAS, DANA etc. No statistics, no remembrances, no conclusions on the black box findings. We simply move on.
From one tragedy to the other, Nigeria simply moves on. People are bombed, massacred in homes, churches, schools and farms, Nigeria simply moves on and continues to demand patriotism from the living who know that they sincerely do not matter.
Today, one of the two survivors of the 2007 Sosoliso air crash, Kechi Okwuchi, has found a home in Texas, United States. She is still very fond of her Nigeria; she is not bitter, she is full of gratitude to God, her family and all who have contributed in her journey to smile again. She graduated with honours from her university. She was a finalist in the very popular America Got Talent competition.
Has her country shown her enough care and compassion? A country that only seeks out citizens when they succeed with the help of other countries should not enjoy the nationalistic fervour of citizens they have let down at their most vulnerable moments.
Today, Anthony Joshua, William Trost-Ekong, Leon Balogun to mention a few are being celebrated in sports but who remembers Carl Ikeme today as he battles for survival?
Deaths from herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgents are collectively referred to, no statistics, no monuments, just media mention. Graveyards, mass graves litter the country but are they monuments of memory or a necessary ritual for the dead?
Today, the cry is about slavery, torture and death in Libya, could it be they realise we don’t care?
As we remember the Sosoliso victims, we mourn all the dead in similar traumatic circumstances, may they all find peace. The country might care less but families and friends live only with the memories that never fade and are never diminished by the graveyards that are as countless as they are unmarked. We are hopeful they are resting from the vagaries of life even if they are seemingly forgotten.
Ms. Nnedinso Ogaziechi, Lagos.Punch