A Nigerian Air Force NAF201 jet, a Beechcraft King Air B350 aircraft, which departed Abuja at 1033hours, yesterday, with seven persons onboard, including two crew, has crashed at the Abuja Airport.
All seven persons onboard have been confirmed dead.
The aircraft was said to have reported engine failure at 1039hours, and crashed landed on the final approach path of Abuja Runway 22 at 1048hours, yesterday.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, confirmed the crash of the military aircraft King Air 350 on the runway in Abuja.
He made the confirmation in a tweet, yesterday, saying that the accident appears fatal.
He tweeted, “A military aircraft King Air 350 has just crashed short of our Abuja runway after reporting engine failure en-route Minna. It appears to be fatal. We should remain calm and wait for the outcome of investigation by the military, while we pray for the departed soul/souls, if any.”
Also, the Director, Press and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, confirmed the incident.
Fire services had arrived at the scene of the accident shortly after, and struggled to put out the fire from the crash site.
However, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has confirmed that its Beechcraft King Air B350 aircraft crashed while returning to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, after reporting engine failure en-route Minna.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, AVM, Ibikunle Daramola, announced this in a statement, yesterday, in Abuja.
According to the statement, first responders were at the scene but sadly, all the seven personnel onboard died in the crash.
Daramola said the Chief of Air Staff, AVM Oladayo Amao, had directed an immediate investigation into the incident.
He urged the public to remain calm and await the outcome of investigation.
The statement added that the air chief on behalf of all NAF personnel, commiserated with the families of the deceased.
Daramola said the flight was scheduled to conduct surveillance missions over Niger State and its environs in connection with the concerted efforts to secure the release of the students/staff abducted from the Government Science College Kagara, Niger State.
As earlier stated, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, has instituted an investigative panel to determine the remote and immediate causes of the accident.
An update statement by Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola, Director of NAF Public Relations said, “While the panel has commenced its work, the NAF, having notified the Next of Kins/family members of the deceased, regretfully announces that the following 7 personnel lost their lives in the crash: Flight Lieutenant Haruna Gadzama (Captain); Flight Lieutenant Henry Piyo (Co-Pilot); Flying Officer Micheal Okpara (Airborne Tactical Observation System (ATOS) Specialist); Warrant Officer Bassey Etim (ATOS Specialist); Flight Sergeant Olasunkanmi Olawunmi (ATOS Specialist); Sergeant Ugochukwu Oluka (ATOS Specialist) and Aircraftman Adewale Johnson (Onboard Technician).
“Earlier, the CAS visited the scene of the accident, in company of the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retired); Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Lucky Irabor, and other Service Chiefs.
“The CAS, on behalf of officers, airmen and airwomen of the NAF, once more commiserates with the families of the deceased personnel and prays that the Almighty God grants their souls eternal repose.”On whether the crash would be investigated by the Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria (AIB-N), the agency, which also confirmed the crash, said it would not investigate the incident as it was outside the purview of its jurisdiction.
The General Manager, Public Affairs of AIB, Mr Tunji Oketunbi, confirmed this, yesterday, in an interview with journalists in Lagos.
Oketunbi said, “It is a military aircraft and the crash is outside our jurisdiction to comment.
“I will advise you call the NAF PRO for detail”.
In its remarks, the Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency (FERMA) said it has recovered seven bodies from the crash site of the Beechcraft King Air B350 aircraft some minutes after the incident occurred near the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
The FERMA Director-General, Alhaji Abass Idriss, said the remains of the aircraft passengers had been deposited at the Nigeria Air Force morgue.
The jet en route Minna in Niger State crashed close to the runway of the Abuja airport after reporting engine failure.
Speaking, yesterday, Idriss denied reports that some persons were killed on the ground by the aircraft, noting that only the seven passengers on the plane died.
He said, “We recovered seven bodies from the crash site and the remains have been taken to the NAF morgue. The NAF has the manifest and they know all those on board. The plane did not crash into any building or individuals on the ground, so all the people on board have been accounted for.”
The Nigeria Air Force Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal I. Amao, has ordered an immediate probe of the accident.
Daramola said, “This is to confirm that a Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft KingAir B350 aircraft crashed while returning to the Abuja Airport after reporting engine failure en route Minna. First responders are at the scene. Sadly, all seven personnel on board died in the crash.
“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao, has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident.
“While urging the general public to remain calm and await the outcome of investigation, the CAS, on behalf of all NAF personnel, commiserates with the families of the deceased.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness over the fatal crash of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Beechcraft King Air B350i aircraft, yesterday, in Abuja that claimed the lives of seven personnel.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, Buhari, on behalf of the Federal Government, extended his heartfelt condolences to family members, friends and colleagues of those who died as a result of this tragedy.
The President said he joined the Nigerian Air Force, the military and other Nigerians in mourning the unfortunate loss of the dedicated and courageous personnel, who died in the line of duty.
He said, “While investigations into the cause of the crash are ongoing, the safety of the Nigerian airspace remains a key priority of the government.”
The President prayed that God will comfort the bereaved families and nation, and grant the souls of the departed peaceful rest.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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