Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati and a spokesman of the Nigerian Navy have confirmed the crash of a helicopter in the Nembe-Okoroba area of Bayelsa State that claimed the lives of Kaduna state Governor Patrick Yakowa and former NSA, Andrew Owoye Azazi this afternoon Nigerian time.
In his statement, Mr. Abati disclosed that two Nigerian navy pilots as well aides of Governor Yakowa and Mr. Azazi also died in the crash.
Apart from Azazi and Yakowa, four other persons died in the crash, they include: Governor Yakowa’s special adviser, Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal who was Azazi bodyguard as well as two naval pilots, Commander Muritala Mohammed Daba and Lt. Adeyemi O. Sowole.
Also, Commodore Kabir Aliyu of the Nigerian Navy disclosed that a Navy’s Agusta helicopter crashed, even though he would not confirm the identities of the passengers who died.
The spokesman was willing to state only that the ill-fated Agusta helicopter “was conveying Very Important Personalities (VIPs) to Port Harcourt from Okoroba village.”
In his statement, the naval officer disclosed: “A Nigerian Navy Agusta helicopter (Helo 07) crashed today, Saturday 15 December 2012 at about 3:30 p.m. around Nembe-Okoroba area in Bayelsa State. The helicopter was conveying some VIPs to Port Harcourt from Okoroba Village also in Bayelsa State.”
Another military source told SaharaReporters that the helicopter caught fire on impact. The source disclosed that some of the passengers on board were burnt beyond recognition.
The Nigerian Navy had two helicopters at the scene of the burial of the father of presidential aide, Oronto Douglas. SaharaReporters determined that Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna state and former National Security Adviser, Andrew Owoye Azazi, were on board the doomed helicopter.
A source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Azazi, a retired general, had invited Governor Yakowa to fly with him on the helicopter to the Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt. The governor’s flight was reportedly late in arriving in Yenogoa, the capital of Bayelsa State.
1. PHOTO of Nigerian Navy Augusta 109 Helicopter that crashed today
2. Below: Navy pilot: Mohammed Dabba
3. Governor Yakowa and Azazi walk towards the -ill-fated helicopter
4. Oronto Douglas, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa and Gov. Yakowa at the burial ceremony in Okoroba-Nembe