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Was Dauda Onoruoiza Present in the Ukranian Flight Manifest?

Photo Credit: 112International 5 mins read

Several publications claimed that a Nigerian was aboard the Boeing 737-800.

The published stories are bereft of evidence and are consequently untrue. The genesis of the headline still remains unknown but is reminiscent of another claim regarding a “Boeing trainee” pronounced dead but is very much alive

Full Text: 

Several reports from news outlets in Nigeria claimed that a Nigerian was on the Ukraine flight PS752. The Ukranian Boeing 737-800 aircraft carried 176 passengers, all of whom died after the crash, crew inclusive. 

The Ukrainian International Airline’s (UIA) PS752 which crashed shortly after it took off from Tehran airport has been all the news recently amid war rumours between the USA and Iran. 

The Genesis

It is probably not news by now that Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani was killed in a United States of America airstrike ordered by US President Donald Trump. Following this, tension ensued in the media on the probability of a war between Iran and the US as to whether this singular action will lead to war.

The Ukranian crash followed shortly after this. In a video verified by the New York Times appears to show an Iranian missile launched from an Iranian military site around eight miles from the plane hitting a plane near Tehran’s airport, the area where a Ukrainian jet crashed killing all 176 people on board.

Expensive mistakes

The crash came hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US troops in retaliation for a drone strike at Baghdad airport that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

According to VOX, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said:

 “ We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence,” the evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. It may well have been unintentional.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later admitted that Iran indeed downed the plane in error.

Then came this claim… 

The exact origin of the Dauda Onoruoiza story remains unknown but it surfaced amid news regarding the Ukranian crash. Currently, notable news outlets in Nigeria published the story. They claimed that a Nigerian who goes by the name, Dauda Onoruoiza was aboard the said Boeing 737-800 that crashed. Publications reported that he was working with Boeing on a three months training in Ukraine. 

The published report also stated that the plane was to undergo maintenance slated for Monday 13, January 2020 in Ukraine; Mr Onoruoiza was attached to the flight to “study the mechanical noise and report back to the company”.

The aircraft has been in service for about three-and-a-half years after a 2016 manufacture; after which the Boeing 737-800NG was reportedly delivered directly to the airline.

Redflags!

Only Nigerian news outlets have reported that Mr Dauda Onoruoiza was on Boeing flight that crashed. Conversely, major international news outlets closer to the headline failed to report any Nigerian present on the flight.

Instances could be that the Nigerian used has dual citizenship but then if that was the case his name should reflect on the list; but, there is no Dauda Onoroizua on the manifest. It is unclear as to where this claim originated; regardless, the plausibility of a Nigerian aboard the PS757 is slim to none.

Verification

Firstly, Dubawa sent a mail to the Boeing company on the 17th of January 2020 to verify the authenticity of this claim. But, at the time of writing this fact-check, there has been no response from them. Efforts made to uncover the identity of the said Mr.Dauda Onoruoiza proved abortive. It goes without saying that we will update this fact-check once new intel arises. 

Similar stories

Interestingly, our search led to one pronounced dead very much alive Mr Bernard Adeleye. Vanguard reports that “ He is not dead” in fact he has never travelled to Ukraine before.

Bernard said his picture was used as the face of the alleged Boeing trainee that died in the crash (Dauda). He further advised bloggers and media outlets to carry out due diligence before publication in a bid to truncate the spread of fake news.

Funny as it may look or sound, Mr Dauda is now Mr Bernard. Unfolding events in this story point out to a clear fact that the news was peddled to mislead Nigerians and cause distractions.

Changing tunes

Afterwards, we attempted to ascertain the source of the Dauda conundrum. Dubawa put a call across to a representative at the Punch newspaper who ended the call after an introduction; failing to answer subsequent calls.

Interestingly, the Punch took down the news report subsequently, possibly in light of new discoveries, save for this archived version

Additionally, it would seem the former are not the only platform to change tune. Legit whose publication previously mentioned a Nigerian aboard the PS752, now questions the story’s authenticity

The Facts!

Excerpt from BBC
  1. The Boeing aircraft’s last maintenance check was on 6th of January 2020, contrary to the report that said the aircraft was to undergo maintenance on the 13th of January 2020.
  2. Reports claimed Mr Dauda boarded the plane to study the mechanical noise of the flight and report back to the company. However, a comprehensive checklist must be met first (maintenance check inclusive); without which, the aircraft cannot be cleared for take-off. This further calls into question the plausibility of Mr Dauda being on board. 
  3. Victims from the crash hail from seven different countries. Iran, Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Nigeria is not in this list (since the writing of this report). The number of passengers by country on board the aircraft includes:
  • Iran: 82 passengers
  • Canada: 63
  • Ukraine: 11
  • Sweden: 10
  • Afghanistan: 4
  • Germany: 3
  • United Kingdom: 3

The manifest of flight PS752 categorized by surname, name and year of birth also failed to show a Nigerian present.

According to CNN, the airline also released the names of the pilots and crew, who died in the crash.

Excerpt from CNN

Furthermore, a look into the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria’s (FAAN) news gallery/ press releases confirms that no Nigerian was onboard.

Temilade Onilede is a researcher and the Programme Assistant for Dubawa, Nigeria. She holds an undergraduate degree in Performing Arts From the University of Ilorin, Ilorin Kwara State. She is a trained journalist, with good research and writing skills, coupled with her knowledge in Journalism; a personable character and an engaging mind who is well skilled in the field of fact-checking and verification.

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