The Nigerian Presidency has confirmed the death of Gov. Patrick Yakowa of northern Kaduna State, former National Security Adviser (NSA) Gen. Owoye Azazi and four others in Saturday’s crash of a military helicopter in Nigeria’s Niger Delta oil region.
A statement from presidential spokesman Reuben Abati, obtained by PANA here, listed the other victims as the aides of the governor and the NSA, Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal respectively, as well as the pilots, Commander Muritala Mohammed Daba and Lt. Adeyemi Sowole.
”The President extends deep and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased, and the governments and people of Kaduna and Bayelsa States. He describes the sudden loss of these distinguished Nigerians as extremely painful to the entire nation,” the statement said.
In a separate statement, the Nigerian Navy (NN) identified the ill-fated chopper as an NN Agusta helicopter.
It said the chopper crashed at about 3:30pm (local time) around Nembe-Okoroba area in Bayelsa State.
”The helicopter was conveying some VIPs to Port Harcourt (in nearby Rivers State) from Okoroba Village, also in Bayelsa State,” the statement said.
PANA learnt that the Governor and the NSA travelled to Bayelsa to attend the burial of the father of a presidential aide, Oronto Douglas.
In March, a police surveillance helicopter crashed in the central city of Jos, killing the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations), Mr. Haruna John, and three others.
In October, another Nigerian state Governor, Danbaba Suntai of northern Taraba State, was injured when a small plane he was piloting crashed in Yola, Adamawa state. He is currently being treated in Germany.