A Nigerian professor of linguistics, Pius Adesanmi, has been named as one of the 157 passengers and crew members that died in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash on Sunday.
The plane, which was bound for Nairobi, crashed six minutes after leaving Addis Ababa for Nairobi in Kenya.
Mr Adesanmi’s death was confirmed by Sahara Reporters which said it spoke to three of his family members, a close friend and a Canadian official.
Mr Adesanmi, born in 1972, was also a columnist for Premium Times and Sahara Reporters.
Carleton University, where Mr Adesanmi taught, also confirmed his death.
“The Carleton community is shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Prof. Pius Adesanmi, who was among the 18 Canadians killed in today’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet at the Addis Ababa airport,” the university said in a statement.
“Global Affairs Canada has confirmed that Adesanmi is among the victims.
“Pius was a towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship and his sudden loss is a tragedy,” said Benoit-Antoine Bacon, president and vice-chancellor. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and loved him, and with everyone who suffered loss in the tragic crash in Ethiopia.
“The contributions of Pius Adesanmi to Carleton are immeasurable,” said Pauline Rankin, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “He worked tirelessly to build the Institute of African Studies, to share his boundless passion for African literature and to connect with and support students. He was a scholar and teacher of the highest calibre who leaves a deep imprint on Carleton.
“A further tribute about Adesanmi’s leadership and many contributions to the Carleton community will be shared as soon as possible.”
The airline management had earlier released the flight manifest showing the countries of origin of the 147 passengers on board.
One Nigerian was confirmed to be among the passengers. It was however, believed that Mr Adesanmi travelled with his Canadian passport, an indication Nigeria lost another citizen in the clash.
Other nationals in the plane included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians, eight Chinese, eight Americans, seven Britons, seven French citizens, six Egyptians, five Dutch citizens, four Indians and four people from Slovakia.
Adesanmi, poet and critic, was born in 1972 in Isanlu, in Yagba local government of Kogi state.
He had a First Class Honours degree in French Studies from the University of Ilorin (1992) and also obtained a Master’s degree and a PhD in the same discipline from the Universities of Ibadan and British Columbia.
He was the author of the popular book, ‘Naija No Dey Carry Last’, a collection of satirical essays.
After his graduation, he pursued a career as a scholar of Francophone and Anglophone African and Black Diasporic literatures and cultures. He was a two-time Fellow of the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) and guest-lectured widely in Universities in Africa, Europe, and North America. He contributed essays on literature and culture to several learned journals, literary reviews, newspapers, and edited books.
Until his death, he was an Associate professor of Literature at Carleton University, Ottawa Canada, and Director, Project on New African Literatures (PONAL).