Minister, NNPC top management pay tribute to Dr Ajuonuma, others

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

08 June 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA - Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has paid an emotional tribute to the departed spokesman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, and three other staff of the Corporation who died in the ill-fated Dana Airlines Flight 0992 crash in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos at the weekend.

The Minister who led the Permanent Secretary in her Ministry, Goni Sheikh; NNPC GMD, Austen Oniwon; senior officials of the Petroleum Ministry and other NNPC top management to sign the condolence register at the NNPC Towers today described the incident as “extremely tragic” to the nation.

“This is indeed a sad time for us as a nation. Our hearts and prayers are with the families of all the deceased. The Lord will give them strength to bear this irreparable loss,” the Minister, who was visibly shaken, wrote in the condolence register.

Speaking particularly on Dr Levi Ajuonuma, Mrs Alison-Madueke added: “He was a consummate professional to the core. We thank God for Levi’s life and for the impact he had on the lives of so many people. May his gentle soul rest in peace.”

The Minister also prayed God to give his family the protection, guidance and grace to get through this most painful of periods. “May god keep Levi in the bosom of his everlasting grace,” she added.

Three other NNPC staff also lost their lives in the tragic event. They include Manager, Pipelines and Depot Projects, ETD, Olukayode Okikiolu; DM, PSC Planning, NAPIMS, Inusa Ahmed-Abba (who also lost his son in the inferno) and Senior Contract Specialist on Secondment to Brass LNG, Nagidi Ibrahim.

Also, Lanre Fatokun, a Transformation Officer recently transferred from NETCO to Abuja lost his wife and two kids as a result of the air mishap. A former GGM ETD, Dr (Mrs) Somolu also lost her daughter following the ill-fated crash.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke had earlier paid a condolence visit to the family of Dr Levi Ajuonuma at his Opebi residence in Lagos. She also paid a condolence visit to the families of Inusa-Ahmed-Abba and Ibrahim Nagidi in Abuja.

Alison-Madueke remarked that, “It has been a very dark time in our nation’s history. It’s even darker for us as the Ministry of Petroleum family. We pray God to keep their families close at this time, granting them grace and solace in everything.”

Some members of the NNPC top management were also on ground to pay tribute to their departed colleagues. GED Gas & Power, Dr David Ige wrote on Dr Levi Ajuonuma condolence register: “We lost our voice. May your soul rest in peace.”