by Isi Esene
The family of Lt. Adeyemi Sowole, the co-pilot of the Navy helicopter which crashed in Nembe, Bayelsa State, killing six people, have expressed concern over how the authorities have only reckoned with the dignitaries that died on the flight.
According to the family, the four other occupants of the ill-fated helicopter, apart from Patrick Yakowa, the Kaduna State Governor, and Andrew Azazi, the former National Security Adviser, are being unfairly treated.
Taiwo Sowole, the elder brother of the late co-pilot expressed this concern on Tuesday at their family home in Iyana Ipaja, Lagos.
Accordding to the older Sowole, “All lives are equal. At this point, the right thing to do is for government to treat all the victims with respect and give them the same recognition.
“But it seems as if only the dignitaries on board the helicopter died. Adeyemi is also important.
“Adeyemi and a senior colleague lost their lives also. They are equally precious to their families. It was their responsibility to transport the dignitaries even though their own lives were on the line.”
Taiwo spoke fondly about his younger brother saying, “We called him ‘Yemi Olopa (policeman)’ because he always behaved like one. But when he got into the Nigerian Defence Academy, it was a dream come true for him.
“He loved what he did so much that he never expressed fear at any point in time about the nature of the job.”
Taiwo got the news about his brother’s death at 8pm on Saturday through one of his brothers.
“All we heard initially was that his helicopter crashed and we were praying at the time that it will turn out to be a hoax. We were hoping it would be a mistake because we thought Navy pilots only fly military personnel or the President and Vice-President,” he said.
Adeyemi’s younger sister reportedly continue to express disbelief over her brother’s death.
“I still wish all this noise about his death is just a rumour,” she said.