Less than a week after the ill-fated helicopter crash involving Vice President Yemi Osinbajo occurred in Kabba, Kogi State, aviation professionals have raised concerns over the security arrangements around the nation's number two man.
In a statement by its publicity secretary, Mr. Olumide Ohunay, the Aviation Round Table (ART) also expressed worries over the crowd that surged towards the helicopter immediately it crash-landed.
ART said it was an embarrassment that the nation’s Vice President was being flown by a foreign pilot, whether contracted or chartered, in a Nigerian Police helicopter as noticed in a previous flight during this campaign season.
ART insisted that the crashed Augusta AW139 helicopter with the registration number 5N-CML could have been engulfed in fie immediately after it crash-landed on the field, stressing that the horde of people within the crashed site was a dangerous sight.
The body however said that it would be restrained to make further comments on the crash until the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), the body saddled with conducting investigations in cases of major accidents, comes out with its report.
"The Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ART) join other Nigerians in thanking God for sparing the lives of the Vice President and members of his team on board the Agusta AW139 with registration number: 5N-CML and serial number: 31389 owned and operated by Caverton Helicopters, which crash-landed in Kabba, Kogi State, with 12 passengers on board, our Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo inclusive.
“While waiting for the AIB report of the accident, we are disturbed about the preparation made for the landing of the helicopter in that area and the crowd that surged towards the helicopter after the crash, if there had been fire, we would have experienced some casualties.
“We are deeply concerned about the management of security of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is embarrassing to see the Vice President of Nigeria being flown by a foreign pilot whether contracted or chartered in a Nigerian Police helicopter as noticed in a previous flight during this campaign season.
“It is a slap on the huge human resource of pilots Nigeria has in abundance.”
It would be recalled that Caverton Helicopter, the manager of the crashed police helicopter, had attributed the crash to “unusual weather conditions”. Also, on Monday, the AIB said it had concluded field investigation on the crash, while preliminary report would be released soon.