Tuesday, June 5, 2012


 Maimuna & Collins Anyene with son          Kamal (Noah): She is described as a            Charming Woman Who Died Along With other  Nine Family Members

Maimuna Anyene, Connecticut, USA
A family of nine was among the 153 persons that perished in the ill-fated Abuja-Lagos Dana flight on Sunday.
The family, the Anyene, was made up of the husband, wife, four children, wife's mother and two other family members described as the wife's cousins.
Two of the children were said to be twins.
It was learnt that while the husband is based in Nigeria and frequents the United States of America base of his family, his wife, Maimuna, their four children, Maimuna's mother and the two cousins, who are reported to be helping out with taking care of the children, are all in Connecticut.
Some of the names on the manifest, which directly bears Anyene are Onyeka Anyene, Noah Anyene, Kamsi Anyene and Kayinentochi Anyene.
They were said to have gone to the North to attend the wedding ceremony of Maimuna's brother.
Sources said they flew in from the US on Thursday for the wedding and were due to return to their base on either Monday or Tuesday.
In fact, it was learnt that the husband of Maimuna's younger sister was already waiting to pick them at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport II on arrival in Lagos.
The man, who works with one of the major telecommunications companies in Nigeria, was reported to have been inconsolable when the news broke that the aircraft had crashed.
A US-based newspaper, reporting at westhartford.patch.com, reported that the neighbours of the Ayenes in Connecticut are also inconsolable.
The newspaper reported:
Residents of West Hartford's Quaker Green neighborhood were saddened Monday to learn that Maimuna Anyene, her four young children, and her husband, were among the 153 passengers and crew killed in Sunday's crash of a Dana Air plane in Lagos, Nigeria.
"We're all very sad. The whole community is very tight knit. I saw her leave with her husband and all four kids, going to her brother's wedding," said Elyse Fox, who lived next door to Anyene.
Anyene and her children lived on Park Place Circle. Her husband worked in Nigeria, neighbours said, but returned to West Hartford every few months and was travelling back to Nigeria with the family to attend Anyene's brother's wedding.
A bouquet of yellow tulips had been left on the front doorstep Monday afternoon.
"I'd see her with her kids, and she seemed like a very nice person," said Keith Elis, of 32 Park Place Circle, who also has a preschool-age child. Elis said that his mother, who babysits for his daughter, knew Anyene better because the kids would sometimes play together.
"She was always smiling; I don't know how she did it," Elis said.
Elis said that word of the family's death in the crash spread through the neighborhood Sunday night after a neighbour found Anyene's name on the passenger list.
Anyene had lived in her townhouse, in Elmwood's newly-developed Quaker Green condominium complex, for several years. According to the Hartford Courant, she was a human resources manager for United Technologies who worked in the Gold Building in Hartford.
Residents describe the neighborhood as very community-oriented, where neighbours immediately reach out to meet newcomers. Anyene's family would socialise by the pool, and come to neighborhood parties, they said.
"I knew her as a neighbour, from being out playing with the kids," said Lisa Ohayon, who has a two-year-old grandchild. "They were going to be moving, and that alone devastated the neighborhood. Six people gone – it just doesn't make sense," she said.
Lisa Ohayon and her husband John said Anyene's children were cared for during the day by an aunt and another family member while Anyene worked full time. "The twins were so cute, always dressed the same, and the aunt used to carry them on her back," Lisa Ohayon said.
Another neighbour, Tagen Gonzalez, believed Anyene's mother and perhaps at least one other relative were also on the plane. Gonzalez, also the mother of a preschooler, said Anyene's oldest child was just about four, the twin daughters would have been two in July, and the baby was about six months old.
"Her kids were always happy. This community is close, and this is surreal," Fox said.
Gonzalez said that she has already contacted United Technologies and is hoping to do something to formally honour the memory of the family.
Reports indicate that all 153 people on board the plane were killed when it crashed into a densely-populated neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday. An unknown number of people on the ground also perished.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. CNN reported that the plane was 22 years old. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Nigerian law bans aircraft older than 20 years of age.
One of the most tragic stories from the ill-fated flight Dana Air 992 that crashed in Lagos on Sunday revolves around Maimuna Anyene, a Connecticut-based Nigerian woman, who died along with her husband, sister, her four kids, two cousins and her mother-in-law.

Ms. Anyene, who is being mourned by friends, relatives and colleagues around the world, was described by several sources as having a boisterous laughter, a happy spirit and an infectiously cheerful disposition.

One of the late woman’s spirits closest friends captured her spirits. “When Maimuna laughed, she was always loud, joyful, and even crazy in the good sense. She laughed spontaneously and excitedly. It was a full-of-life kind of laughter that seemed to come from deep within her belly. She laughed without inhibitions. She was pretty and had cute dimples that made her round face memorable.”

Maimuna was born into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Ndanusa and Birikisu Mijindadi on July 30, 1979. Her father, from Bida, Niger State, was a professor at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Her mother had worked for a few years as a nurse in the United States before returning to Nigeria where she began and ran several enterprises, including a large grape farm in Zaria. 

Maimuna attended primary school in Zaria and completed secondary school at QueensCollege, Lagos.

She proceeded to the University of Ibadan (UI) where she studied Economics, graduating in 2001 with a second class (upper) degree. At UI, she made many friends, staying close to several of them years beyond her university days. 

One friend said she stood out as the most studious in her circle of friends. “Maimuna was the one who talked to her friends to focus on their academic work whenever she found them in danger of getting too distracted by the many temptations of student life,” said the friend. “No surprise that we called her ‘effico,’ a nickname for nerds and bookworms. It meant she was efficient in organizing her study and play time. She was diligent and hardworking, and simply never lost sight of her priorities.”

Another friend said she fondly remembered how she and others called Maimuna “effico.” “It was a term of endearment but also a playful kind of derision. We derided her for keeping us honest by enforcing group discipline. And, at last, we cherished her for keeping us honest that some of us graduated with honors from Ibadan and other universities.” 

On graduating from UI, Maimuna returned to Zaria for a few months before heading to Lagos for the mandatory one year stint as a member of the National Youth Service Corps. She served with Citibank in Lagos.

Maimuna was married to Onyeka Anyene, a lawyer who has offices in Abuja and Lagos. Friends described the marriage as one founded on religious tolerance and broadmindedness. A devout Muslim, Maimuna married Mr. Anyene, a Christian. 

A few friends disclosed that Maimuna’s parents were at first reluctant to approve their daughter’s choice of husband-to-be. Even so, Maimuna and Onyeka displayed their determination by heading for the Marriage Registry in Ikoyi, Lagos to solemnize their wedding. The ceremony was marked by a simplicity that was characteristic of the couple; it was witnessed only by three persons: a close friend of Maimuna’s from her U.I. days, and a couple who were friends of the groom.

A relative said Maimuna was a woman of great professional ambitions who was willing to work hard to prepare for the realization of her dreams. This led her to Pennsylvania State University in the United States where she earned a Masters degree. In 2005, she relocated to Connecticut and lived there until her death in the Dana Airlines crash that also claimed close to 160 passengers as well as an unclear number of people on ground. The plane crashed into buildings in the densely populated suburb of Iju-Isahaga, in Agege, Lagos. 

Ms. Anyene and her husband had four children: Kamsi (two-years old), twins Kayna and Kayne (one-year-old), and Kamal, also known as Noah (seven-months-old).  

One friend in Connecticut recalled how “Maimuna loved to take pictures, to capture every memorable moment on film whenever possible.” 

One source said she had traveled to Nigeria to visit with her husband, who lived mostly in Nigeria. “She also went to attend the wedding of her younger brother, Ndako, 

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