Makeshift Memorial Rises to West Hartford Woman and Family

Others express their grief, love, and memories through a website created to honor Maimuna and Onyeka Anyene, who were killed along with their four children in a Nigerian plane crash.

[Updated at 11:30 p.m.]

Flowers, stuffed animals, and photographs now blanket the front stoop of 28 Park Place Circle in West Hartford, the townhome where lived with her four children before she perished, along with other members of her family, in the crash of a Dana Air plane in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday.

"Your family will be in our hearts forever," reads one handmade card which included a photo of Maimuna and one of her children in costume.

Hundreds of friends and relatives from all over the globe also expressed shock, grief, and condolences through a website dedicated to the memory of Maimuna, her husband Onyeka, and the couple's four children.

According to a Facebook message sent to Patch by Maimuna's friend Akin Ogunkoya, a total of nine members of Anyene's family perished in the crash. In addition to Maimuna and Onyeka, the couple's four children (Kamsi, twins Kayna and Kayne, and baby Kamal — also known as Noah), Maimuna's mother (Hajiya Berikisu Mijindad), and two cousins were passengers on the plane.

The family was en route to Nigeria to attend the wedding of Maimuna's brother Ndako, which was scheduled for June 9, according to a report on "African Spotlight." Maimuna and her four children lived in West Hartford, but her husband, Onyeka, lived and worked in Nigeria most of the time.

Anyene's oldest child, Kamsi, was a student at Early Learning Center. Dr. Eileen Howley, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum for the , read the following statement at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting: "The entire education community extends its deepest condolences. The thoughts and prayers are with the family."

Maimuna, 32, was originally from Zaria, Nigeria. According to reports, she graduated from the University of Ibadan in 2001.

She earned a Master's Degree from the Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University in 2006. Her brother Mohammed Mijindadi also obtained an MBA at Penn State, graduating in 2008.

"It's certainly difficult for us — to know that she's not with us anymore," said Robin Brouse, director of MBA student services at the Smeal College of Business.

The MBA program is a small, close-knit group of 85-100 students in each cohort, Brouse said, and the students and staff know each other very well.

"Maimuna was a very special person. She had an infectious smile and was a humble and kind person. It was joyful to have her come through the office. It's hard to fathom," Brouse said.

A post on the Smeal College of Business' Facebook page reads, "It is with great sorrow that we pass along the news that Maimuna (Mijindadi) Anyene, along with her husband, four children and her mother were killed in the Nigerian plane crash last Sunday. Maimuna was a Smeal MBA graduate of the Class of 2006. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Anyene and Mijindadi families, especially Maimuna’s brother Mohammed (MBA ’08). We will pass along any news or updates we receive in the coming days."

Brouse said that the University has not yet made any definitive plans for a memorial.

Maimuna Anyene worked in the human resources department at United Technologies. UTC spokesperson Maureen Fitzgerald said in a statement, "Maimuna Anyene was an invaluable part of the United Technologies team for more than four years. We are saddened by the loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends around the world. She will be deeply missed by all, including her colleagues at UTC."

Reports indicate that all 153 people on board the plane were killed when it crashed into 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.


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