Navy Helicopter Tragedy: Nigerian Navy Air Squadron, A Disaster Says Naval Source-PM News, Lagos

Crashed Navy AW 109E helicopter
By SaharaReporters, New York

The Nigerian Navy whose helicopter crashed in Bayelsa State on Saturday, 15 December, 2012, killing the Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoye Azazi and crew members, like many other public institutions, is in a rotten state.

A top Naval source who spoke on the tragedy that befell the nation described the Nigerian Navy Air Squadron which operated the crashed Agusta 109 helicopters from Ojo, Lagos, a disaster. To buttress his assertion, he disclosed that the squadron has lost three helicopters, seven pilots, crew members and six passengers in six years. He recalled that on 20 April, 2006 a Nigerian Navy helicopter crashed near Owerri airport because the pilots were coerced to fly at night to deliver election materials. The helicopter crashed leaving no one onboard alive.

“This means the Nigerian Navy tasked the pilots to perform duties which were not commensurate to the training they were given. Has the Nigerian Navy learnt from this incident? Has the Navy taken any steps to avoid reoccurrence? No official report has been released about this crash. A board of inquiry was set up and investigations were conducted by a team of Navy officers who did not have any know-how, let alone the expertise to conduct proper air crash investigations. As stated earlier, the reports of the investigation never saw the light of the day. May be they are safely lying somewhere in a vault in naval Headquarters, Garki, Abuja. For us, this attitude indicates that the Nigerian Navy is not ready to learn from this incident. Though, shortly after the crash, the Navy has made efforts at training some pilots at Night Flying.”

Two years later, specifically on 26 January, 2010, the officer reminded P.M.NEWS, that another fatal crash occurred near Port-Harcourt, killing all onboard. “As usual, a BOI was set up and no official report has been released from Garki. This shows the Navy is adamant and impervious to learning,” he said.

Following the tragedies recorded by the squadron, the Naval officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to order the Navy to stop air operations now because the Navy has not developed the proper professional attitude required to conduct air operations.

He called for a proper investigation, “not a Board of inquiry by a bunch of clueless Navy officers but a proper air crash investigation by professionals,” to look into the crash that occurred on Saturday.

“Maybe the Presidency, the Senate President, the CDS and the Chief of Naval Staff, may be interested to know that the Navy Air Squadron lacks a proper logistics line; that there are no enough spare parts for helicopters, that spare parts take ages to reach the country even after they have been paid for; that the Navy Air Squadron lacks an efficient technical/logistics support system; that the Nigerian Navy Air Squadron has mastered the practice of removing a part from one aircraft to another, a practice commonly known as cannibalisation. That sometimes, even fuel which is always budgeted for is an impediment to air operations due to late arrival; that technicians/engineers are not properly empowered; they have not been properly exposed to the standards required of an air technician by frequent re-trainings and that their certificates do not meet ICAO standards. (In fact, their certificates should surpass ICAO standards because they are military),” the officer said.

According to him, the Nigerian Navy helicopters are sometimes deployed outside their home base to Warri and Port-Harcourt for long periods of time. During this period, the aircraft is totally exposed to weather elements of rain and too much sunshine. This is so because the base in Warri does not have a hanger. The Air Squadron at Ojo is popularly known within the Naval circle as ‘the Evil Forest’. Nobody wants to be posted there. Junior officers go to the extent of offering bribes just to cancel their postings to “the Evil Forest”, because of the tyrannical, despotic, nature of senior officers.

The atmosphere in the Nigerian Navy Air Squadron is fouled by the despotic and arrogant attitude of the seniors who have created a division in the Squadron, where the juniors see their seniors as their enemies. The trust and rapport between them is broken. This greatly hampers safe operations and inhibits a conducive working environment that is an important factor for aviation safety. The juniors hence find it difficult to engage the seniors in a fine conversation during flight or even offer any suggestion. No aviation organization can operate in this kind of atmosphere, where victimization, intimidation are the order of the day.

He observed that “the pilots/engineers (juniors) just do their work for the sake of doing it. This is dangerous. In fact, most aviators (pilots/engineers) won’t mind leaving the Air Squadron or even leave the Navy entirely. It may equally be of interest to know that “the Evil Forest” (Navy Air Squadron) officers have to fight or bootlick to go on leave and sometimes they are not allowed to go on full leave. This is contrary to the best aviation practices. Aviators need rest in order for them to work efficiently.

Furthermore, the officer revealed, the aviators are sometimes given orders to fly under difficult circumstances. Two pilots were grounded for refusing to fly during bad weather. An inquiry was set up and investigation revealed that the pilots were right for refusing to fly. But, typical of the Navy, the pilots were grounded and their flying wings confiscated. It took the noble administration of the CDS (then as CNS) to re-incorporate them back to the Air Squadron. The pilots are made to fly even when they are tired.

They are made to go for maritime patrols into sea, when they are not trained for that. The Nigerian Navy pilots have performed deck landings on the Nigerian Navy ships NNS ARADU and NNS THUNDER several times. The question to ask is: Are any of these pilots certified for deck landings?

Finally, the officer noted, that “in the Navy Squadron, the pilots are only given basic training. They do not attend redundancy training, night flying, deck landings, search and rescue and other training packages which will make them well rounded pilots. No pilot in the navy can safely conduct a proper emergency landing (due to lack of proper continuous training). The air crew, which includes the Marshallers, ATC and hoist operators, lack adequate and certified training. Some of them receive local training at the squadron, which falls far below the required aviation standards.”


36 comment(s)
Post a comment

Reply to comment | Sahara Reporters

Winner! Here's the prize code: NHOTX7. You would need this in
the future. This is for a unique opt-in promotion in order to get something without spending a dime.
We will use our computer software to locate information on multiple
web sites to locate our champion in A month time!


What happen if the whole of the royal family got bombed and killed by terrorists in Britain.Cheap Evening Dresses People will end up asking you where you got the sweet little outfit.The size density also witnesses growth on the substantial sized 64 GB model.Leeward Islands.You'll notice that you'll find whenever you Burberry handbag in lots of styles and color pattern choices.


You're not Audrey Hepburn yetThis bracelet for men has alternating long and short links with rivets and accents of black carbon fiber.and have been licensed for use.All of my friends' parents, and my DH's parents, are well-off and do not have financial concerns.Interesting violet, bright, pale yellow brown as well as black color deal with vinyl-coated fabric inside the recognizable Burberry Check is adorned with brown leather-based cut.The Red Lion in St.Disclaimer

Saw that on local news. It

Saw that on local news. It was horrible to what happened.


It's the best time to make a few plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I've read this publish and if I may just I want to recommend you few fascinating issues or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles regarding this article. I want to read more issues about it!%7


i love the navy

God Help Nigeria

May God See Us Through, And Also Find The Best Solution For Nigeria

The man Buhari

I agree with you but many unfortunately. do. not.
Buhari: Bring Us Happiness And Remove Undisciplined. That. Is the meaning of Buhari.

Navy Helicopter used for illegal duties

Oga, even you? Have you forgotten that Babangida government grounded the military including the naval air arm? They are just starting all over what began during Shagari administration. It is gradual and they will get there. My concern in all of these is the use of the navy helicopters for private duties. Was it right?

Babangida Crippled the Military

Oga, even you? Have you forgotten that Babangida government grounded the military including the naval air arm? They are just starting all over what began during Shagari administration. It is gradual and they will get there. My concern in all of these is the use of the navy helicopters for private duties. Was it right?

eleminating Hausa officer

is a consiperacy to elimminate mostly hausa officers from navy

Helicopter Hanger

@Akpors Your Uncle GEJ is the president but the people of SS and SE have not benefitted from that fact. The major developments in these country is in SW and Abuja. It shows that your president has nothing offer his people in terms of development. No feasible project is being done for the people of SS despite all the oil you have. You lack credible leaders.. All your local chiefs and politicians are only after what the oil companies can give to them in terms of bribes and properties instead of pushing for the development of the region. The people of Amai, obiaruku, Abraka, Ugheli and other areas are living in abject poverty. Remember that "Nigerian Govt is from SS" .. You are senseless with your thoughts..

A coup plotter???????

Do think Alhaji Shehu Shagari will agree with you?

Buhari to be President?

Buhari has not got the intelligent to rule nigeria.This is the man who told the muslims to vote a person that will lift up islam. With all mallam Buhari has been saying, he will not be a good ruler.Voting Buhari in the President is like voting in Boko Haram.

This is not Rocket Science

This is not rocket science! The Naval Officer (writer) evidently knows his onions and is aware of the decay in the Navy. The questions here is WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT? Continue to wait and allow more disasters happen like a normal trail or resolve to root-cause problem solving strategies to getting a standard system in place.

All we need do is copy correctly from the advanced world. It is not rocket science, how hard, really how hard can it be?

What are they trained for?

[...]they cannot fly at night, cannot land on deck, cannot fly on the high sea [...]. My question is , what are they really trained for?

@ Preco-01 & Onyeze

Guys, softly, softly. Much as I agree that the country needs a comprehensive and bloody surgery, I fail to see how anyone in the current bunch of recycled leadership including Buhari is the answer.

The man cannot be free from the stain that has afflicted the ruling elite. We need a young, forward looking and vibrant leadership that will have no strings with the past/current decadent leadership. Buhari has too many baggage to be useful. Remember that at his first coming he had an Idiagbon, not a few people believe he was actually the force driving that administration.


in short word rip to the late dismissed.... how will escaped navy chopper crash by gen gowon and Mr labran maka... more here at

re: why no hangers in warri

stop this sentiment thing its not taking us anywhere, i know there are private hangers in warri belonging to shell and other oil servcing companies, there is an airforce base in Benin that caters for that zone,The base for the augusta helicopeters is in portharcourt even if funds were provided by previous governments our leaders there in the south south would embezzle it and still come out and complain, the problem in the niger delta is not the federal government its the greed of our elders and leaders, who may even own thier own helicopters and prefer to hang them in lagos

An Autopsy is needed

One day we will get a President who is not a Nigerian, but in the interim let us be satisfied with the choice of our ethnicism and religious bigotry-breath of fresh air, no shoes and all of the pedestrian cliches that excite illiterates.
This is about the helicopter crash, have we conducted an autopsy on the occupants of the ill-fated chopper. Indira Ghandi was assassinated by a trusted body guard, ditio Kabila and many tribal warlords in many different places. Lets be certain that there was no suicidal fanatic on that copter.

Buhari INDEED!!! In your dreams.

God punish all u blood sucking Buhari followers. I never voted cos I saw doom in GEJ. Almost voted for the blood sucking Buhari thank God I didn't, cos I would have blamed myself all my life. What Nigeria needs is a total cleansing. Kill all past and present leaders and START AFRESH!!! None is good including ur sickle-celled, sickly looking hungry Buhari.

Pray for Chime

In an era of mediocrity and unfocussed and thieving governments, we should spare some good feelings for the few politicians that have tried to make a positive difference in governance. Enugu witnessed positive transformation under Chime and we wish he well.

do what is right



The Nigerian Political elites have been known to be totally rotten from head to toe.
Iam talking about from Local government councils to states to ASO ROCK.

where are Nigerians?? The people revolution like what happened in Libya and Egypt is long overdue to weed the plague from our land. Maybe the Niger Delta people have to STOP the flow of free oil money to Aso Rock for senseless sharing, then every politician will sit down to think well.


Its vident to all that the nigeriian military is not up to the job.
Other nations have learnt through deaths that helicopters and aeroplanes must be maintained full stop.
Most air-forces never fly in dangerous aircraft.
In fact most aircraft noteably helicopters spend more time in their service hangers being stripped and serviced.
They spend more time on the ground than in the air as this is what the manufacturers recommend,
There is no way around it apart from death in waiting.
If the nigerian military which to deceive themselves so be it but the facts remain in black and white.
Helicopters must spend more time on the ground than in the air,
Thats the facts plain and simple.
maintain,service,replace parts and constant work done to keep them airworthy.
Not buying more to treat in the same suicidal ways


It so sad to note that Nigerian Military is this corrupt I am much aware of how it runs in the Army,Police and Custom. I tell it is so sad it only puts our nations security at risk against external attacks and weakens the strength of our force....

technical incompetence

The main issue in Nigeria's case is gross incompetence of those in authorities; the military inclusive. Coupled with this, is lack of commitment and focus. Putting grossly irresponsible people at the helm of affairs is equal to giving loaded guns in the hands of a mad man. What is so urgent about someone's father's burial that warranted compulsory attendance of high officials? Unfortunately, Yakowa and Azzazi are the latest victims of GEJ, David Mark and Tambuwals clueless regimes in addition to the massacred Christians.


Some people could be blinded by ethnic bigotry and blind loyalty to the extent they see an ant as an elephant. If not how and why on earth will somebody still calls for an outdated invalid like Buhari to take over the mantle of leadership in Nigeria? What Chief Awolowo could not achieve in good health cannot be achieved by a half paralysed Buhari. The expectations of the unrighteous will definitely be cut off. No sympathy.

@Preco01 - I cannot agree with you more

Nigeria needs an experienced,tested, and a strong leader with a track record of leading a nation to prosperity. Buhari is all that and some. For the Buhari-haters and other ethnic bigots out there, you have a personal problem. Deal with it.
We can't afford to experiment any more. A corrupt leader like GEJ can't turn thi country around. There goes another wasted 4 years. We need somebody capable of leading. Somebody who demands hardwork and accountability from all irrespective of your social standing.

Moron Leaders We Have in Nigeria.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where on earth do leaders of a country attend private functions with a government property if not only in Nigeria??????????

Ministers; Commissioners; Governors; Emirs; Personal Aides to the president and their likes organize events to attract who is who amongst the theiving elites. Common aides to the president had a burial for his late father and lives were lost as a result.
Our moron leaders do not see or hear. Acute corruption has blinded their visions and hearing capability.
They visit developed countries all over the world but never take notes of what they see or hear to enable them replicate same to their people back home.
As far as am concerned, Nigeria is now a dead country and only waiting to be BURIED.

Post a comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Comments are limited to a maximum of 1000 characters.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <p> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.