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Boko Haram: Two pilots, three naval officers die in helicopter crash



…Akwa Ibom acquires three aircraft for Ibom Airline***

Five crew members, made up of two pilots and three personnel of the Nigerian Air Force, have been confirmed dead in the military helicopter crash which occurred in Damasak, Borno State, on Wednesday.

The victims were identified as Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob, the pilot in command; Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Kilyofas, the co-pilot; Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim, a flight technician; Lance Corporal Adamu Nura, a gunner; and Aircraft Man Meshack Ishmael, also a gunner.

The five crew members were on board the NAF Mi-35M helicopter, providing air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno State, when the crash occurred around 7.30pm on Wednesday.

An attack helicopter had first been reportedly lost in combat at Damasak in Northern Borno State.

Northern Borno is a vulnerable and Boko Haram-attack area where the Islamic State of West African Province fighters had attempted to overrun military bases recently, with attacks on Metele on November 18, 2018, Buni Gari in early December 2018, and Baga in the latest invasion on December 26 and 27, 2018.

The air force acquired and inducted two Mi-35M attack helicopters from Russia in February 2017, which it deployed in the North-East to complement the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.

On Thursday, our correspondent learnt that the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, went to Maiduguri over the aircraft crash and met with the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole.

The air chief also received the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, in Maiduguri, over the air crash.

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said on Thursday that the remains of the deceased personnel had been recovered and deposited in a morgue in Maiduguri.

He said, “These gallant fallen heroes made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our fatherland, for which the NAF, and indeed the entire nation, owe them an unending debt of gratitude. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, commiserates with the families.”

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday condoled with the Nigerian Air Force and the families of the five persons who died in the military helicopter.

“The President mourns Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob (Pilot in Command); Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Paul Kilyofas (Co-Pilot); Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim (Flight Technician); Lance Corporal Adamu Nura (Gunner); and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael (Gunner), who died in the mishap,” a statement by the Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, read.

In the meantime, Akwa Ibom State Government said on Thursday that it had acquired three aircraft to its fleets of Ibom Airline Company.

The State Commissioner for Special Duties and Aviation Development, Mr Akan Okon, who disclosed this at the New Year chat with newsmen in Uyo, said the airline would be run as a limited liability company.

According to him, the airline has the capacity to generate 400 direct and indirect jobs for the teaming unemployed youth in the state.

“Ibom Air has come to stay. I am happy to tell you that we have completed recruitment with a good number of Akwa Ibom children. The chief pilot is from Akwa Ibom.

“Three aircraft are secure and are ready for commencement of operation. It is completely owned and operated by the Akwa Ibom State Government and it will provide 400 direct and indirect jobs,” Okon added.

Okon pointed out that though the airline was exclusively owned by the Akwa Ibom State Government, its management and operations would completely align professionally with world best practices.

He said members of staff of the new airline, who were recruited strictly on merit, were currently undergoing training in their various areas of specialities and added that they were getting set to start operations as soon as all formalities were concluded.

Okon lauded the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, for the successes so far recorded and the Director of Air Worthiness at the Nigerian Aviation Authority, Ita Awak.

He specifically thanked Awak, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress, for his role in ensuring ease of operations and the actualisation of the purpose for which Ibom Airport was established.

“Some Akwa Ibom sons in positions of authority have been supportive; prominent among them is the Director of Air Worthiness, Ita Awak, who has worked so hard to ensure that the MRO becomes a reality,” Okon said.

The commissioner explained that the heavy traffic in Akwa Ibom airport had made it imperative for the state government to join the few airlines operating therein, saying that Ibom Airline would at the moment operate within Uyo-Lagos-Abuja routes.

He stated that the current administration was working to improve the standard of the airport with the ongoing second runway, new taxiway, a power sub-station, new commercial building and other unique features.

He explained that such  an improvement made it possible for the landing of over 20 aircraft in the President’s entourage during the flag-off of the APC presidential campaign for the South-South region in Akwa Ibom.

The Citizen


17 die, 3 injured in Kano auto crash



17 die, 3 injured in Kano auto crash

 Seventeen persons died and three others were injured in an auto crash in Yaura village, on Wudil-Bauchi Road, in Albasu Local Government Area.

The Kano State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr. Ibrahim Sallau Abdullahi, confirmed the incident in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Labaran, on Thursday in Kano.

He said that the accident involved a Honda Accord with registration number NSR 81 VW and a Volkswagen Sharon (bus) with registration number NNG 275 XA.

According to the statement, the accident, in which one person escaped unhurt, occurred on Wednesday afternoon.

“Motorists passing by informed our patrol operatives at about 14.20p.m. Upon receiving the information, we quickly dispatched our personnel and vehicle to the scene of the incident to rescue the victims at 14.25p.m,” Abdullahi said.

The sector commander said that the crash occurred as a result of excessive speed, wrongful overtaking which led to a loss of control, and a head-on collision, with one of the vehicles bursting into the fire immediately.

“The crash involved a total of 21 passengers in the two vehicles, out of which 11 adult males, five adult females and one male child lost their lives while three others sustained serious injuries — one adult male, one adult female and one male child,” he said.

Abdullahi said the injured were taken to Wudil General Hospital for treatment, while the corpses of the deceased were handed over to relatives of the victims.

He advised motorists to obey traffic rules and regulations, to avoid needless deaths and injuries on our roads.

The sector commander commiserated with the families of the victims and prayed for the repose of the souls of the departed.

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Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway: Truck crushes commercial motorcyclist, passenger driving one-way



Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway: Truck crushes commercial motorcyclist, passenger driving one-way

A commercial motorcyclist and his passenger, on Wednesday, were killed, after colliding with a truck, at Bible College area on Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Sector Commander in Ogun, Mr. Ahmed Umar, confirmed the accident to newsmen on Wednesday in Ota, Ogun.

Umar said that the accident, which happened at about 9.10 a.m., involved four people, a vehicle and a Bajaj motorcycle.

He said that the motorcycle, with no registration number, drove against traffic and collided with a Daf truck, marked: KTG 941 YG, leading to the death of the Okada rider and the passenger, while two others were unhurt.

“The corpses of the dead had been deposited at the morgue of the General Hospital, Ifo,” he said.

The sector commander blamed the accident on excessive speeding and route violation.

He advised motorists and okada riders to desist from excessive speeding to avoid unnecessary loss of life.

Umar also cautioned them to refrain from driving against traffic to prevent mishaps on the highway. 

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10 roasted on Oyo-Ogbomoso Road; 5 burnt beyond recognition on Badagry-Seme Expressway



Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway: Truck crushes commercial motorcyclist, passenger driving one-way

 No fewer than 10 passengers were burnt to death on Oyo-Ogbomoso road on Thursday, just as five persons were burnt beyond recognition in a fatal accident on the Badagry-Seme Expressway in Lagos on Thursday.

The passengers, involved in a head-on collision involving a Mazda and a Toyota Hiace passenger buses, were burnt beyond recognition.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) confirmed the incident on Thursday in Ibadan.

The FRSC Sector Commander in the state, Joshua Adekanye, said the incident occurred at about 5.30 a.m. around Kilometres 12 Ijawaya on Oyo-Ogbomoso road.

He said that the buses with registration numbers LEM 963 XA and NSR 222 ZS were coming from Lagos and Nasarawa states respectively.

Adekanye said that the vehicles went on flame immediately resulting in the burning of the occupants.

He attributed the cause of the accident to speeding and overloading.

He called on motorists to always shun night travelling, speeding and overloading, adding that the fatality would have been reduced if the drivers were not on night journeys.

In another development, five persons were burnt beyond recognition while three others sustained injuries in a fatal accident on the Badagry-Seme Expressway in Lagos, also on Thursday.

*The remains of the Honda Pilot Jeep involved in a fatal accident on Badagry-Seme Expressway on Thursday.

Mr Sulaiman Taiwo, Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) at Badagry, confirmed the accident.

He told newsmen that the accident occurred at Akoro Village, on the Badagry-Sème Expressway.

The accident involved a Honda Pilot SUV with registration number LSR 772 HE and motorcycle with an unidentifiable registration number.

Taiwo said the driver of the Honda Pilot must have been over-speeding and lost control before hitting the motorcycle laden with petrol.

“The driver of the jeep collided with the motorcycle resulting in an explosion.

10 roasted on Oyo-Ogbomoso Road; 5 burnt beyond recognition on Badagry-Seme Expressway

“By the time we got to the scene, the raging fire had burnt three persons beyond recognition, while two others lost their lives during the rescue operation.

“Three persons that survived the inferno were taken to the General Hospital in Badagry while the five corpses were deposited at the mortuary in the same hospital,’’ he said.

Taiwo added that the prompt response by personnel of the Customs Service, Fire Brigade, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the police have restored normalcy to the area.

 Speaking later with our correspondent, the Medical Director, General Hospital, Badagry, Dr Olatunde Bakare, said some relations of the dead had reported claiming the bodies, while the three survivors were receiving treatment at the Emergency Unit of the hospital.

He urged motorists and other road users to stop carrying petrol inside jerry cans in their vehicles as the rate at which the hospital was treating victims of fire incidents was alarming.

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