by Lekan Olanrewaju
A police surveillance helicopter belonging to the Nigerian Police Force, on Wednesday crashed in Jos, killing all on board.
“The Nigeria Police wishes to announce the death of DIG (deputy director general) Haruna John, the DIG in charge of operations,” police spokesman Olusola Amore said in a statement that listed the other officers who were killed as well.
“The officers were on routine aerial patrol before the unfortunate incident occurred,” the statement added.
The officers had been carrying out a routine aerial patrol over Jos and were headed back to Abuja with Chief Superintendent Alexander Pwol-Ja, Sgt. Sonatiam Shirunam and Assistant Commissioner Garba Yalwa, the helicopter’s pilot, when, according to eye-witness reports, the helicopter began rolling in a circular motion before crashing into a house at Rukuba road, behind the Jos satellite market.
“I saw this big fire ball come down from the sky and I thought: ‘what is this?’,” said witness Oluchi Right, 26, a graduate student. “It just hit the ground.”
The office of the President, Goodluck Jonathan issued a statement which mourned the deaths of the officers.
In his statement, released by Spokesperson, Reuben Abati, the president described the accident as unfortunate and a temporary setback, especially at a time when all security forces were making efforts towards guaranteeing the security of the country.
The President also sympathised with the families of the deceased and the Police High Command, encouraging them to take solace in the fact that the ‘fine’ officers died in the course of serving their fatherland.