Kaduna State Gov. Patrick Yakowa and former National Security Adviser, Andrew Owoye Azazi, with four others died in a helicopter crash Saturday. It was learnt that the helicopter that was conveying sympathizers from the funeral in Bayelsa, burst into flames in the air and plunged into the creeks. The victims on Saturday, were returning from the funeral of the father of the Special Assistant to President Jonathan on Documentation, Research and Strategy, Oronto Douglas, when the tragedy occurred.
Others on board the helicopter included Dauda Tsoho and Mohammed Kama, aides to Messrs Yakowa and Azazi, respectively. The pilots, Murtala Dada and Adeyemi Sowole also died in the crash as all the occupants were burnt beyond recognition. The Nigerian Navy’s chopper was said to have embarked on repeated shuttles between Port Harcourt, Yenagoa and Okoroba, a town in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state, where the burial was taking place. President Jonathan was away from Bayelsa, his home state, when the incident occurred. Mr. President has ordered an investigation into the crash. This is the fourth crash this year after the June 3, Dana Airline crash that claimed the lives of all 153 persons on board and about six on the ground; the chopper crash that Killed Assistant Inspector General of Police John Haruna, his aides and the pilot and the October crash involving the governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai. Mr. Yakowa, 64, was one of the few governors that attended the funeral. He was the first Christian to have governed Kaduna State since 1999 as he replaced Namadi Sambo, who was picked by President Jonathan as Vice Presidnet.