For Entertainment, Education and Information 


Yakowa: Governors demand transparent probe , to engage consultant-investigator


Governors of the 36 states of the federation rose from an emergency meeting in Abuja on Monday with a resolution to engage consultant-investigator to participate in the probe of last Saturday’s helicopter crash that killed Kaduna State governor, Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser (NSA), General Owoye Azazi and four others.

The governors, under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), also called on the Federal Government to ensure transparency and openness in the investigation of the crash.

According to the Tribune, the governors said that the consultant they will hire will serve as an observer.

According to the NGF’s communique read by the chairman and Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, “Members support the directive of the president for a thorough investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the helicopter crash and calls for transparency and openness in the process.

“Forum further resolved to engage a consultant to participate in the investigation process or serve as an observer.”

President Goodluck Jonathan has already ordered a thorough investigation into the incident which occurred around Okoroba in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, while the naval chopper was ferrying the victims to Port Harcourt.

Others involved in  the crash were aides to the late governor and the former NSA, including Dauda Tsoho and Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal, as well as the pilots, Commander Muritala Mohammed Daba  and Lt. Adeyemi  O. Sowole.

Amaechi, who revealed that the meeting deliberated on a number of other issues, said they also resolved to condole with the president, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, the government and people of Bayelsa and Kaduna states and the families of the victims of the crash.

In attendance at the meeting which took place at the Rivers State Lodge, Asokoro Abuja, were governors of  Plateau, Jonah Jang;  Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwambo; Imo, Rochas Okorocha;  Kogi, Idris Wada; Abia, Theodore Orji;  Anambra, Peter Obi;  Adamawa, Murtala Nyako;    Ogun,  Ibikunle Amosun; Yobe, Ibrahim Gaidam; Niger, Babangida Aliyu;  Ondo, Olusegun Mimiko;   Edo, Adams Oshiomhole and   Kebbi, Seidu Dankingari.

Others were deputy governors of Bauchi,  Sokoto,  Enugu, Cross  River and Nasarawa.

In a related development, the Bayelsa State government has said that it is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the investigation into the crash of the ill-fated Naval helicopter.

Governor Seriake Dickson made this known while receiving the investigative team from the Federal Government, led by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, in Government House Yenagoa.

Describing the incident as a monumental tragedy, the governor reaffirmed his administration’s commitment and support for the investigation.

He commended the Chief of Naval Staff and the team for their prompt response by visiting the state to carry out an assessment tour of the crash site at Okoroba community in Nembe Local Government Area of the state.

Dickson expressed the heartfelt condolences of the government and people of the state over the death of  Patrick Yakowa, noting that he was a guest of the state.

Eulogising the late General Azazi, he said “here we have lost one of our best who meant so much to the state and has contributed towards nation-building.”

Similarly, the governor described the naval officers who were among the dead as diligent officers who had served in the state  and commended their sense of duty and professionalism.

“I condole with the entire military as well as their families for this tragic loss. We are all in mourning with the loss of these great patriots,”  Dickson noted.

Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba called for the country to remain united in spite of the difficulties encountered as a result of the national loss.

 Similarly, as part of moves to pay homage to the late  Yakowa, a special valedictory session of the Bayelsa State Executive Council is to hold at half past- eight in the morning today at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House, Yenagoa.

Thereafter, a delegation of top Bayelsa State government functionaries will accompany the casket of the late governor to Kaduna where it will be formally handed over to the government and people of Kaduna State.

An enlarged delegation of the government and people of the state to be led by Dickson will visit Kaduna  tomorrow to condole with the government and people of Kaduna State as well as the immediate family of  Yakowa.

While in Kaduna, the delegation will also participate in the funeral activities of the late governor scheduled for Thursday, December 20.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy (NN), has set up a board to investigate the Augusta helicopter NN07 which crashed on Saturday.

The Chief of Training and Operations of NN, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogbor, disclosed this while briefing newsmen, adding that the Navy is determined to investigate the helicopter crash.

Rear Admiral Ogbor said the helicopter was in good condition before the crash, adding that navies worldwide maintain high air assets in support of their maritime operations.

However, he said the Navy could not tell why the helicopter exploded until investigations were through, as the aircraft took off about three minutes before the explosion happened.

“As of the time of the incident, the helicopter had flown 1,704 flight hours while its last schedule routine maintenance was concluded in November this year and was cleared for operations by certified technical support engineer.

“When the aircraft crashed, it was having more than 80 flight hours before the next schedule routine maintenance. The NN pilots are experienced, in fact, the captain in command had flown over 800 hours, while the co-pilot had flown over 300 hours,” he added.

The naval chief explained that the Agusta Westland was a new aircraft manufactured specifically for the navy, adding that they had been adhering to all the maintenance instructions given to them by the manufacturer.

The members of the board of investigation included aircraft investigation specialists, Agusta Westland, manufacturers of the aircraft and other aviation regulatory agencies as provided for by extant regulations.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Mish Aviation, Captain Ibrahim Mshelia, has said the investigation of the crash is under the direct purview of the Defence ministry.

While reacting to issues of who carries out the investigations to determine the cause of the accident, Mshelia said the Ministry of Aviation only exercised powers when the aircraft involved in a crash is a civilian aircraft.

He said the Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah, should not be blamed for the crash, as she  was only in charge of aircraft registered for civilian duties and not military aircraft.

Number of comments: 0

Name: E-mailaddress: Homepage:
:) :( :D ;) :| :P |-) (inlove) :O ;( :@ 8-) :S (flower) (heart) (star)

Enter the code embedded in the image