Four of the 153 victims of the Sunday crash of Dana Airline Flight No. 9J-922 at Ishaga in the outskirts of Lagos metropolis were staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the company said on Monday.
Apart from its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Levi Ajuonuma, others affected include the Manager, Pipeline and Depot Projects, Okikiolu Olukayode; Senior Contract Specialist on secondment to Brass LNG, Nagidi Ibrahim; and the Deputy Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), a subsidiary of the corporation in charge of government investment interest in the joint venture projects, Inuwa Ahmad.
The NNPC Group Managing Director, Austen Oniwon, said in a statement from the United States where he is currently attending an official engagement, that even in the face of the grievous moment, the “NNPC as a family is united in faith with God, who is all-knowing, that he is the only one that can comfort and console us at this dark hour.”
“I pray for the repose of the gentle souls of our departed colleagues, members of their families and other Nigerian and international passengers and crew in the ill-fated aircraft and for God to grant the nation, the nuclear families that lost their beloved ones the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“I extend my deep condolences to Mr President, the honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, members of the NNPC and the Nigerian oil and gas industry family that have lost a number of their colleagues in the disaster,” he said, urging the management and staff of the NNPC to “Keep faith” in “this trying period,” Mr. Oniwon said.
The statement was signed on his behalf by the corporation’s General Manager, Media Relations Department, Omar Farouk Ibrahim.
Mr. Ajuonuma, a former broadcaster with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Ray Power before joining the NNPC as the General Manager Group Public Affairs in 2003. He was later promoted to the position of Group General Manager, a position he held until his death.
He started his career in 1977 as an announcer with Imo Broadcasting Service (IBS) in Owerri, before leaving for Huntington College, Indiana, USA in 1979 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications.
He later got a Master of Arts and Doctor of philosophy (PhD) in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota in 1983 and 1987, respectively.
The late Mr. Ajuonuma got an MBA from the Plymouth State College of the University System of New Hampshire two years later. He was married with children.