Popular political columnist, Prof. Pius Adesanmi, was among the 157 persons that died in the Ethiopian Airline crash.

The Boeing 737-800 crashed in Bishoftu, shortly after takeoff from Bole International Airport.

It was learnt that Adesanmi, who holds a Nigerian and Canadian passport, posted a photo from Addis Ababa Airport, Ethiopia, hours before the plane took off.

Adesanmi posted a message on Facebook which read, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me – Psalm 139:9-10.”

The aircraft, which was bound for Nairobi, Kenya, went down in the early hours of Sunday.

One Nigerian was listed among the dead as well as 18 Canadians, 32 Kenyans, nine Ethiopians, eight Chinese, eight Italians, eight Americans, seven French, seven Britons, six Egyptians, five Germans, four Indians, four Slovaks, three Australians and others.

Aside from Ethiopians, there were nationals of Canada, China, Kenya and others aboard the airliner.

Popular social media influencer, Kayode Ogundamisi, also expressed fears of Adesanmi’s demise.

He wrote, “I know you had issues boarding from Canada. May God give us that one slim chance that you missed the flight and you are still on your way and will soon call.”

Adesanmi, who was a Director at the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University, Canada, was a professor of English.

As of the time of filing this report, there were over 500 condolence messages on his Facebook page.

Also on board the ill-fated aircraft was a retired ambassador, Mr. Abiodun Bashua

Until his death, Bashua was on contract with the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA).

The federal government, in its condolence message expressed shock at his demise.

In a statement Sunday night, the minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama and members of staff of the ministry who received the sad news of his death with great shock, prayed that the Almighty God grant his family and the nation, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Bashua, who hails from Lagos State, was born in Ibadan in 1951 and joined the Nigerian Foreign Service in 1976.

During his career, the late Ambassador served in different capacities both at Headquarters and Foreign Missions such as: Vienna, Austria, Abidjan, Cote d’ivoire and Tehran, Iran among others. As a seasoned UN Expert, he had extensive experience in several United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa.

He joined the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in 2009 and was appointed Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur in 2014 by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Bashua also served as Secretary to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The late ambassador was also the interim chairman of the Nigerian Community in Ethiopia, the statement read.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has expressed profound shock and dismay over the crash of Ethiopian Airlines plane on Sunday morning.

UN stated this in a statement issued by the Communications Section of Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on behalf of the executive of the executive of the ECA, Ms Vera Songwe.

“As the UN family, we are deeply saddened by all the lives lost in this tragedy.

“We have lost numerous members of staff from UN agencies. We have also learnt of losses in other international organisations as well.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, close friends and colleagues of the victims of this crash.

“The United Nations family is mourning the loss of our colleagues and friends, many of whom lost their lives carrying out their professional duties today.

“We will be reaching out to families and offering our support,” Songwe said.

According to government reports, 149 passengers and eight crew members were believed to be on flight ET302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.

Songwe, however, called for caution in sharing names and images of the victims on social media platforms.

“On behalf of the entire UN leadership team, I urge everyone to remain sensitive to the families of the victims and avoid sharing names and images on social media.

“Our security and travel services in the entire UN system in Ethiopia are actively monitoring the situation and we will continue to keep everyone updated in the coming hours and days,” she said.