In Nigeria, eighteen people who died in an air-crash have been buried after a state funeral that included open air Moslem and Christian services.
SV EXTERIOR Pallbearers carrying coffins just unloaded from aircraft at Lagos airport. (2 SHOTS)
SV Military guard of honour accompanying coffin.
SCU Woman weeping.
SV SV Nigerian President Alhaji Shehu Shagari speaking PAN AROUND coffins arrayed on biers upon dais ZOOM IN TO SCU President continuing Valedictory address.
ATAN CEMETERY LAGOS: SV PAN TO Line of coffins.
SV Men in uniforms consoling mourners at coffins.
SV Coffin being lowered into ground; mourners grieve as lowering of coffin continues. (2 SHOTS)
SCU Woman mourner in black being comforted PAN TO coffins.
TRANSCRIPT: SHAGARI: "What we can do, and which is the best that anybody can do for them, is to offer our prayers which, through Almighty God, will reach them. This is why we assemble in this square to be led in prayers by religious leaders of both Moslem and Christian faiths. We also offer our heartfelt and most sincere condolences to the families, relatives, friends and colleagues of these heroes"
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Nigeria, eighteen people who died in an air-crash have been buried after a state funeral that included open air Moslem and Christian services. Nigerian President Alhaji Shehu Shagari read a Valediction for the victims at the service in Lagos on Saturday (7 June). They died in a Nigerian Air Force aircraft that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Escravos River Bar in Nigeria's Bendel State twelve days before (26 May).
SYNOPSIS: The coffins were flown to Lagos airport from Benin City, the capital of Bendel State, on the day of the mass funeral. All the victims except a crew of three, were members of a Nigerian government delegation flying for bilateral talks to the islands of Sao Tome and Principe.
The dead included a senior official of the External Affairs Ministry, Dr. Abubakar Usman, four others from the ministry, plus armed forces personnel and four journalists. Later, at Tafawa Balewa Square, the President spoke.
The state burial was at the Atan cemetery in Lagos. The F.27 aircraft had not gone far on its ill-fated flight before a monitoring control tower at Douala airport in the neighbouring country of Cameroun lost contact with it. Rescue units from Cameroun and Sao Tome took part in the ocean search for the plane.
The President had said all the victims had died in the service of their country. They had been, he said, carrying the flag on a mission of peace aimed at cementing international relations. The aircraft's destination, Sao Tome and Principe, consists of six small islands, and overseas province of Portugal until becoming independent in 1973.