VATICAN CITY -
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message of condolence to the government and people of Nigeria on the incident of the Dana Air crash in Lagos, on Sunday, June 5, 2012; killing all the 153 passengers and crew on board.
The condolence message which was sent to the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, through the Papal Nunciature in Abuja; and signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State in the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI commiserated with families of those who died in the disaster and prayed for the repose of the souls of those who died in the crash.
The Holy Father`s message reads: `His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was saddened to learn of the tragic air accident in Lagos and he sends his sincere condolences to the people of Nigeria, especially to the relatives and friends of the victims. Remembering in his prayers all who have suffered injuries, His Holiness commends the souls of the deceased to the benevolent mercy of Almighty God and implores the divine gifts of consolation, strength and hope upon all who mourn their loss.`
It will be recalled that, on Sunday, June3, 2012, Dana Air plane travelling from Abuja to Lagos crashed into residential buildings in Iju Ishaga, a suburb of Lagos, just about 4 minutes flight time from the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja. The incident was said to have occurred as a result of the failure of the two engines of the aircraft. All the 153 passengers on board were killed along with others on the ground, while some others were said to have sustained injuries.
Among the passengers were Professor Celestine Onwuliri, the husband of the Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of External Affairs, Professor (Mrs.) Viola Onwuliri. Professor Onwuliri who was also the President of the Supreme Subordinate Commandery of the Knights of St John International was on official engagement to Lagos, on behalf of the National Universities Commission (NUC). He died along with four other officials of the commission, who were with him on the official engagement.