CLAIM 1 – Five plane crashes with a death toll of 453 were recorded the year before Femi Fani Kayode became Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation
CLAIM 2 – There were no plane crashes during FFK’s tenure as Minister of Aviation
CLAIM 3 – Plane crashes resumed after FFK’s tenure as Minister of Aviation
CONCLUSION – Femi Fani Kayode’s claims are PARTLY TRUE. His claim that 453 lives were lost in five plane crashes is not factual. The actual figure is over 333 lives lost in four plane crashes, with the fifth crash not having an official death toll. Also, there was no plane crash during his tenure, but there was a helicopter crash!
On the 6th of August 2019, former Minister of Aviation took to his twitter page to applaud himself. Femi Fani Kayode, usually denoted with the moniker FFK, boasted about his success as an Aviation Minister in Nigeria; remarking that there had been no recorded plane crashes during his tenure.
He claimed that there were 5 plane crashes with a total loss of 453 lives in the year prior to his appointment. Asserting this statistic, he continued that there were no recorded crashes during his tenure but that these resumed afterwards.
“The year before I became Minister of Aviation there were 5 plane crashes with the loss of 453 lives. When I became Minister, the planes stopped crashing. There was not one crash under my watch. When I left the Ministry, planes started crashing again. I must have done something right!”
Femi Fani Kayode was Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation from November 7, 2006 to 29 May 2007. For the limits of this fact check, we would be analyzing data from January 2005 to November 2006. This is consequent on the timeline being “the year before I became Minister…” Thus, it follows he was referring to 2005 to 2006.
A report by The Telegraph reveals there were in fact four major plane crashes that correspond to our chosen timeline. However, local news media ChannelsTV and TheNationOnline record five plane crashes; although, Harka Airline crash of 2005 does not having any official figures. This may or may not be the reason it was omitted from the former. The verifiable claims reveal over 333 lives were lost making claim 1 PARTLY TRUE. This is consequent on the fact that local records reveal there were in fact 5 plane crashes were lives were lost. However, Harka Airlines has no official death toll.
A breakdown from January 1, 2005 to November 7, 2006 is as follows:
- October 22, 2005: A Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 with 117 people on board crashed shortly after take-off from Lagos. All on board killed. This included 111 passengers and 6 crew members.
- December 10, 2005: A Port Harcourt bound Sosoliso Airlines flight 1145 crash-landed in Port Harcourt Airport, killing 109 passengers including 60 students of Jesuit Loyola College, Abuja.
- September 17, 2006: an 18-seater Dornier 228 Air Force transport plane carrying 15 senior army officers and three crew members crashed in Benue State; leaving three survivors.
- October 29, 2006: An ADC airliner with 114 passengers on board crashed and burned after take-off from Abuja with reports confirming a death toll of 96–98.
There were, however, some minor aviation accidents which include planes overshooting the runway, tires and engines catching fire but no lives were lost.
Meanwhile, CLAIM 2 which asserts that there was no plane crash during Femi Fani Kayode’s tenure as Aviation Minister is also MOSTLY TRUE. The operative phrase being “plane crash”. The reason being that the only aviation crash was a six seater helicopter belonging to Odengene Air Shuttle (OAS). This crashed in Delta State killing two people on November 10, 2006.
In June 3, 2012, Nigeria experienced a plane crash – Dana Airlines Flight 9J 992. The airliner, carrying 153 passengers on board crashed at a residential area of Iju-Ishaga, Lagos. No one survived the crash. This thus corroborates the former Aviation Minister’s remarks “…When I left the Ministry, planes started crashing again…” It follows, claim 3 is TRUE.
Other crashes post FFK tenure include but not limited to Cessna 208 aircraft marked 5N-BMJ (October 25, 2012) and Associated Airlines (October 3rd, 2013).
Femi Fani Kayode’s claims are PARTLY TRUE. His claim that 453 lives were lost in five plane crashes is not factual. The actual figure is over 333 lives lost in four plane crashes, with the fifth crash not having an official death toll. Also, there was no plane crash during his tenure, but there was a helicopter crash! There were also crashes after his tenure.
This fact-check was done by a Dubawa Fact-checking Fellow in collaboration with The Nation, the second-most-read newspaper in Nigeria according to a 2011 report by The Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria. To see this article and others, check out: https://thenationonlineng.net/how-true-are-the-claims-by-fani-kayode-on-the-aviation-sector/