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Pius Adesanmi. Image from Kogi Reports.

The family of the late Pius Adesanmi has filed a lawsuit against The Boeing Company, the Chicago-based manufacturer of Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, one of which crashed in the service of Ethiopian Airlines as its Flight 302 on March 10, en route to Nairobi from Addis Ababa, causing the deaths of all 157 aboard, including the Carleton University professor and public intellectual. The family is seeking answers as to why The Boeing Company failed to properly inform pilots about the dangers and risks involved in its new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software, leaving pilots with neither the knowledge nor ability to restore manual control. The suit argues that the company knew that the MCAS was defective and dangerously flawed but instead ignored safety in pursuit of profit.

According to a report in the Nigerian newspaper Premium Times, the suit, dated June 4, was filed on behalf of the family at the US District Court in Chicago, by attorneys from three law firms: Nomaan Husain of Husain Law + Associates, Floyd Wisner of The Wisner Law Firm, and Omar Khawaja of The Law Offices of Omar Khawaja.

Here is an excerpt from the report:

Detail of the new complaint seen by this newspaper reads in part:

“This action arises from the horrific crash of ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES Flight 302 (“Flight 302”) on March 10, 2019 in which 157 people lost their lives. The aircraft involved in Flight 302 was a Boeing 737 MAX 8. This crash came less than five months after Lion Air Flight JT 610 – another Boeing 737 MAX 8 – crashed into the Java Sea on October 29, 2018, killing all 189 onboard.

“Investigation into both crashes is ongoing, but the similarities in the aircraft and the investigative findings for the crashes thus far points to a common cause. Shortly after taking off and while attempting to climb, pilots for both aircraft reported flight control issues as the planes pitched up and down erratically throughout the sky.”

Listed as plaintiffs are Lois Olufunke Adesanmi, Pius’ mother, and Iyabo Toluhi, who represents Pius’ daughter who is a minor.

In a statement, one of the attorneys, Nomaan Husain, said: “Once again corporate greed has placed profits over safety with tragic consequences for the public.” Another, Floyd Wisner, said: “In my decades of representing families of the victims of air crashes, I have never seen a case with such serious misconduct by an aircraft manufacturer.”

The press release was sent to the newspaper by the social critic Bamidele Ademola-Olateju. “I took the first step to seek Justice for you my dear friend Pius Adebola Adesanmi,” she wrote. “Nothing can bring you back to us but I have taken this first step for JUSTICE on behalf of Lois Olufunke Adesanmi and Oluwadamilare Monica Adesanmi.”

It includes a statement by Pius’ mother, Lois Olufunke Adesanmi. “Everyday my heart bleeds over the loss of Bola,” she said. “Every day, I play his life from infancy to his death in my mind. Most importantly, I think about how I dedicated him to God at the Catholic Cathedral at Egbe at the age of 12. I continue to pray for the repose of his soul. My life has been a recurring nightmare.”

In May, the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) established the Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award for Excellence in African Writing, a biennial honour for “an outstanding single-authored book focused on Africa and/or the global African world.”

May he rest in brilliance.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he got an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies and English & Literary Studies. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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