Accra, Ghana (PANA) – Last weekend's plane crashes in Ghana and Nigeria, the celebration of the 33rd anniversary of the coup that brought former president Jerry John Rawlings to power and the seizure of arms were some the main stories highlighted in the Ghanaian media this week.
“Tragedy! Plane crashes, kills 10 on the ground,” was the headline of the state-owned Ghanaian Times on the story of the crash-landing of a Nigerian cargo plane at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra last Saturday evening.
The story said a cargo plane crash-landed at the KIA after overshooting the runway. It hit a bus on the ground outside the airport killing at least 10 people.
The newspaper said all the dead were on a commercial Benz bus which was swept off the road and mangled by one of the wings of the Allied Air Cargo aircraft, which was on a flight from Lagos in Nigeria to Accra en route to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Occupants of a taxi, however, escaped death narrowly although the wing of the aircraft whipped it off the 37 Military Hospital-Burma Camp road and dragged it along its way.
Four crew members, all Nigerians, survived with minor injuries.
The headline of the state-owned Graphic read “Plane crushes 10 to death - Committee set up to probe incident.”
It reported that 10 people were killed by a cargo aircraft that skidded off the runway at KIA and crashed into a mini-bus near the El-Wak Stadium in Accra on Saturday.
T he aircraft, a Boeng 727-200 belonging to the Allied Air, which had taken off from Lagos in Nigeria, was carrying general goods, including textiles, perfume and clothing from Nigeria to Cote d'Ivoire via Accra when the incident occurred at about 1900 hours GMT.
“On landing, the aircraft overshot the runway, went through the airport perimeter fence before crashing into a Benz bus on the 37 Military Hospital-Burma Camp road instantly killing 10 passengers and the driver.
Two other people who were in a taxi, which had been grazed by the aircraft on the road, however, escaped unhurt.
The Ghanaian Times had another story under the headline “Mills visits aircraft crash scene.”
It said President John Mills has expressed sadness over last Saturday's plane crash in Accra which claimed 10 lives and charged the aviation authorities to institute the necessary measures to avoid a recurrence.
The president, who was at the scene on Sunday morning, described the accident as "really unusual" and called for measures to prevent such an accident.
The Graphic’s story on President Mills’ visit to the crash site read “President Mills consoles families.”
It said President Mills had charged the management of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to put up adequate measures in place to prevent the recurrence of the plane crash in Accra on Saturday.
Expressing his condolences to the bereaved families during a visit to the accident scene on Sunday, he expressed satisfaction at the swift response by the emergency service organisations to the disaster, which saw the immediate cordoning off of the scene to prevent a milling crowd from intruding with the operations.
The Graphic under the headline “Five-member committee to investigate plane crash,” said a five-member committee had been inaugurated to establish the cause of Saturday’s cargo plane crash at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.
Under the chairmanship of retired pilot Alex Grant Sam, one of Ghana’s first four pilots, the committee has been given 30 days to submit its report for further action.
It is also expected to determine the extent of damage caused to property, as well as related safety issues.
The Graphic’s foreign page had the headline “Passenger plane crashes into building in Lagos” with the story saying a passenger plane with about 150 people on board crashed into a building in Nigeria's main city of Lagos.
The Dana Air plane struck a two-storey building and burst into flames.
The crash comes barely 24 hours after a Nigerian cargo plane rammed into a passenger bus in Ghana, killing all the 10 passengers on board.
“Three days of mourning for Lagos plane victims,” was another headline of the newspaper with the story saying three days of mourning have begun in Nigeria for more than 150 people killed when their plane crashed in the main city of Lagos.
The Boeing MD-83 ploughed into a printing works and residential buildings before bursting into flames.
“Rifles seized,” was the headline of the Ghanaian Times on the seizure of the cache of arms.
The story said a Benz truck loaded with kola nuts and charcoal with AK47 assault rifles hidden in them has been intercepted by the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in Kumasi.
The rifles, numbering nine altogether with a loaded pistol and 281 live ammunitions which were concealed in a sack of kola nuts were being transported from La Cote d'Ivoire to Ghana with Kumasi as the final destination.
Four suspects, including the driver, were arrested while the truck has been impounded.
The Graphic’s headline read “AK 47 rifles seized in Kumasi; 4 arrested.”
It said Customs officials in the Ashanti Region in the early hours of Wednesday intercepted a cache of arms and ammunition on a cargo truck meant for delivery at Asawase, a Kumasi suburb.
The items were allegedly meant for one Inusah Kusasi, who is yet to be located.
hey include nine AK 47 rifles, one loaded foreign-made Bareta pistol and 281 rounds of live AK 47 ammunition.
The pro-opposition Daily Guide’s story on Rawlings coup anniversary speech had the headline
“NDC in a ditch – Rawlings.”
Rawlings was sprung from jail by other ranks and junior officers on 4 June 1979 to lead a revolution which is noted for its ruthlessness. Three former military heads of state were among several people executed at that time.
The story said the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) founder, former President Jerry John Rawlings, had expressed doubts about the ability of the party to retain power come December 2012.
According to Mr Rawlings, the party is guilty of the same accusations made against the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and therefore had lost the moral high ground needed to win the December elections.
He added that despite the many warning signs, those at the helm of affairs had succeeded in leading the party and government into a ditch. And unfortunately for the government, there was no attempt to get the party out of that ditch.
“It is unfortunate that we cannot recognize our limitations, every opportunity to decide what to do, but poor judgment is landing the NDC into a ditch,” said Rawlings, one of the most bitter critics of the government and president John Mills, who was his vice president from 1997-2000.
The Graphic’s story had the headline “Return to June 4 principles or lose the 2012 - Rawlings tells NDC.”
It said former President Rawlings had warned that unless the NDC returned to the June 4 principles of truth, transparency and accountability, which formed the basis for the formation of the party, victory in the 2012 election would be an illusion.
According to him, the NDC under President Mills had neglected those values and principles which had led to a number of corrupt activities taking place in a clear violation of the promise made to Ghanaians that made them vote the Atta Mills administration into power in 2008.
-0- PANA MA 9June2012