Nigerian Navy Agusta A109e Power helicopters

Nigerian Navy Agusta A109e Power helicopters

16 December, 2012

THE Nigerian Navy last night confirmed the crash of its Agusta helicopter around the Nembe-Okoroba area of Bayelsa State. Naval spokesman, Commodore Kabir Aliyu, who did not want to speak on the number or identities of persons aboard the ill-fated helicopter however told The Guardian that “the helicopter was conveying Very Important Personalities (VIPs) to Port Harcourt from Okoroba village.”

In a Press statement released later by
Naval Headquarters, Commodore Aliyu
said: “A Nigerian Navy Agusta helicopter (helo 07) crashed today Saturday 15 December 2012 at about 3:30pm around Nembe-Okoroba area in Bayelsa State. The helicopter was conveying some VIPs to Port Harcourt from Okoroba Village also in Bayelsa State. “Search and rescue operation is ongoing by a combined team of personnel from the Joint Task Force (OP PULO SHIELD), Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, NEMA and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps. Further details on the crash will be made available as received.”

Sources told The Guardian that Patrick
Ibrahim Yakowa, former Governor of
Kaduna State and immediate past
National Security Adviser, Gen Andrew
Owoye Azazi were burnt to death in the
helicopter crash. The source also said that Mr. Yakowa, who wore a cream
coloured agbada with cap to match,arrived the venue of the interdenominational service of the
burial of the father of Presidential
Adviser, Oronto Douglas, with Seriake Dickson, the Governor of Bayelsa State. Gen Azazi, former governor of Bauchi State Alhaji Adamu Muazu, Oba Otudeko, Mr. Timi Alaibe and other top government functionaries.

At the living room of Mr.Douglas, the late governor and Azazi exchanged banter with other visitors, journalists and friends.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies


  1. beegeagle says:

    May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace, amen.

    One cannot help but notice that the foreign media are eerily quiet about this one. Had this been a Harbin Z-9EC or an Antonov/Ilyushin/Tupolev crash in DR Congo or India…oh, they would have regaled us with tales about how Chinese or Russian aircraft have a notorious safety record, conveniently using purported news reports to nail the competitor.

    Never mind that the Chinese and Russian Presidents and Premiers use those same planes and they are not known to be suicidal fellows.

    But this year alone in Nigeria, we have recorded air crashes involving a Bell helicopter in Jos, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 plane in Lagos and now, this Agusta helicopter crash in the Niger Delta.

    The silence is understandable. There is nothing to put a spin on in all of the foregoing. All the airframes were manufactured in the West. Amnesia has thus taken hold.

    Hypocrisy, skewed reportage whilst feigning impartiality and media-driven propaganda rule our world. Shame.
    There goes the heads up for those of us who lap up every bit of vile commercial propaganda masquerading as news. It is a world of intrigue so I would rather think for myself and draw my own conclusions.

    Again, may the souls of the departed rest in perpetual light and peace profound.

  2. duduboi says:

    If I am not mistaken, this is the 2nd or 3rd crash by a naval helicopter. Earlier in the year (march I think) there was a police helicopter crash. I hope this is not a result of our blatant disregard for proper and routine maintenance. Or the case of some people sitting on the funds meant for maintenance. There should be no short cut or “managing” when it comes to sensitive and vital assets like these.

  3. duduboi says:

    And yes RIP to all those who lost their lives in the crash. Governor Yakowa has always impressed me with his bridge building efforts in Kaduna and General Azazi was a man I had always admired since his days as COAS. The valiant pilot and co pilot who must have known death was imminent as the chopper went down and must have done all they could do to salvage the situation.

  4. beegeagle says:

    Most unlikely, Duduboi.

    As far as human capacity permits, that helicopter would have been in the “form of its life” this week. By mid-week, all maintenance proceedures would have been executed to the letter with express orders from the FOC Central Naval Command and the Commander Naval Aviation. No dime would have been spared and if they needed any extra money, the BYSG would have stepped in to write off the expenses for airlift and security in what was a matter of interest affecting the “Presidency” – the President’s men.

    NAF and Police combat and surveillance helicopters conducted air patrols all through yesterday. All of the maintenance and operational costs entailed at would have been gladly written off by the BYSG for an event of that magnitude taking place on their turf – the President’s home state no less. Ditto the cost of JTF OP PULO SHIELD’s security operations – gunboat, motorised and foot patrols by troops and cops. This is after all the volatile Niger Delta where the hangover of armed conflict, piracy and bunkering imply a glut of arms in thr hands of mercurial non-state actors.

    Before it returned to pick up the unfortunate duo of Yakowa and Azazi, the same helo had gone to and returned from Port Harcourt where they went to drop off the Chief of Staff to the President and the Minister of Health.

    • eyimola says:

      Yeah but a helicopter is not a taxi. They more or less used operational military helicopters (which might have been participating in ship landings the previus week) to ferry dignitories. What could go wrong wih that plan?

      Eyewitness accounts suggest that visibity was fine, and the pilot was struggling to regain control in the air before the chopper dived to the ground. That sounds suspeciously like some sort of hydrolic failure. The pilot was clearly experienced, and tried to avert the crash, so its unlikely to have been some sort of error on his part.

      I am more pissed about the loss of a valuable miitary pilots, and assets than all the political crap.

  5. beegeagle says:

    I do not for a minute believe that this had anything to do with political subterfuge. Neither do I think that it was caused by human error.

    I cannot also imagine that a helicopter deployed for security operations or executive airlift for such a high-profile event in a high security zone would have been subjected to anything but the most rigorous of maintenance checks. It would be like suggesting that helicopters going for a sea exercise – such as EX OBANGAME, EX FARAUTA or for a Navy Day/Independence Day P’rade would just be sprung up from the hangar and told to fly off. It nevers pans out that way.

    The top-level Commanders in that AOR are fully aware that anything resembling negligence could mark the end of their careers and that, with a court martial to boot. In events of this nature and profile, with ministers, governors, special advisers and senators everywhere, it is the STATE GOVERNMENT which typically picks up the bill for a high visibility security operation even if the said event is not a state function. In this case and as a matter of courtesy towards the FG, the BYSG would have coordinated the security arrangements in view of the heavy presence of big hitters who have little or no knowledge of the local environment – same way that the KDSG would have paid all the bills for security operations at the heavily attended event where Vice Preisent Sambo gave out his daughters’ hands in marriage two weekends ago in Kaduna – with ministers, governors, senators and diplomats on ground for the ceremony.

    Therefore, it is unfathomable that the military and security services commanders in Bayelsa State, all of whom are functionaries of the FG deployed to Bayelsa and as such, are statutorily members of the State Security Council who in their official capacities sit regularly to discuss with the Governor, would at this auspicious moment not have the necessary access to relevant state government bigwigs such as the Commissioner for Special Duties, Special Adviser on Security, Chief of Staff to the Governor or Secretary to the State Government, with a view towards presenting the logistic requirements necessary for the attainment of seamless security operations.

    Never mind that the FG would certainly chip in a hefty generous bit to ‘support’ the security operations at the grassroots which its leading lights hope to benefit from.

    To my mind, the likeliest cause of this mishap would have been a MOMENTARY mechanical malfunction. That does not imply that the machines were not maintained. Machines being what they are, can act up at ANY TIME. That is why they are not humans.

    If, as my commander Eyimola seems to be suggesting, these naval aviation assets are too heavily tasked – patrolling the volatile Niger Delta to keep a lid on the excesses of violent gangs of non-state actors such as pirates, bunkerers and militants who operate outside the precepts of the Amnesty Process, THEN the FG might as well consider the acquisition of more helicopters for the military and detail some to the Niger Delta for this kind of assistance to civil authorities which shall never abate for as long President Jonathan remains Chief of State.

    Indeed, VIPs, social climbers and name droppers alike shall always flock to Mr President’s native Bayelsa or his spouse’s Rivers State for as long as he remains in power OR as new onshore and offshore oil installations and NDDC projects get commissioned.

    Get some more US$9m Agusta A109s or US$4.9m TWIN-ENGINED Eurocopter AS 555 Fennec helicopters and relieve the pressure on multitasking assets.

  6. originalpato says:

    I’m hoping that with this latest crash our security forces would be able squeeze out from the National Assembly funding for procurement of Helics and aircrafts.

    • Acting Major Benbella says:

      We need more helicopters. The general rule for helicopters is to maintain them for one hour for each hour they spend in the air. If we must stay with Augusta, we also should consider bigger and more robust ones than the A109. Is there an advanced (naval) helicopter training school after basic training in Enugu?

  7. jimmy says:

    People let us not forget these are fairly new helios let us not get carried away .Let us calm down AND LET US WAIT TILL WE GET ALL THE FACTS. let us also have a space/time of respect for all those who passed away this is not a political thing it is and was an accident- a tragic one. unfortunately accidents happen that is why they are called accidents.

  8. airsupport says:

    First of all, I don’t want to speculate about the cause of the crash, even though speculation is probably the only thing we have to go on. But i want to raise certain issues that need to be addressed in Nigerian military aviation.
    Air crashes are usually caused by Human factors (at least 75%). I have a problem with the disproportionate used of Nigerian military air assets for VIP transportation purposes.
    Military pilots are trained to have a do or die mentality when executing missions. This mentality is essential for effectiveness in combat operations. But a problem arises when this mentality is applied to VIP transport which requires a more “civilian” approach.
    This combat mentality may have manifested itself during the first NN Agusta crash. The mission was to deliver electoral materials and there may have been a possibility that the crew were pushed beyond their limits.
    In civilian flying there are set limits of operation based on safety first. But the military is required to keep going on when everyone else is tucked.
    VIP flying, especially governmental VIP flying, puts a lot of pressure on the pilots to get OGA there. The polish Presidential crash is a classic example. The Polish COAS entered into the cockpit thereby putting immense pressure on the pilots to execute their mission and they paid the ultimate price.
    One issue to look out for is FATIGUE. The guys where flying all day. Civil aviation has Flight time limitations (FTLs) which govern duty and rest periods to avoid fatigue but unfortunately military aviators are not governed by the same.
    The Naval Aviators cannot be blamed because they did their duty which is to give everything including their lives to ensure the mission gets accomplished. Its the mentality that is to blame.
    Solution: All VIP flying should be handed over to civilian units. Military pilots can be seconded to these units but the flying should be done to civilian standards. This way when our heroes give their lives, they will do so in real heroic “do or die” situations and not in the process of trying to ferry celebrities to an “owanbe”.

    RIP Brave Military aviators.

  9. Max Montero says:


    • Acting Major Benbella says:

      You will do well to post your comments and move instead of trying to tell people what they write or not. You may not intend it but it is becoming childish of you and downright to read you haranguing posters on what they should write about.

      • Acting Major Benbella says:

        Also, Jimmy, accidents do not just happen, they happen based on preventable errors. That is why we are engaged in a post mortem. our focus is no longer with those that died as unfortunate as it is, but on the living and how to prevent Nigeria’s armed forces from experiencing what is avoidable through careful planning and budgeting.

      • jimmy says:

        OGA BEEGEAGLE please correct me if I am wrong these helios were bought in 2009
        IN THE US where maintenance is at the highest premium here are the dates
        since 2012
        August 30/ 2012, August 16 /2012, September 5 2012, October 11 2012, April 9, 2012
        all involved helicopter crashes.All involved loss of life.five military helios April till September. EACH CRASH HAD a subsequent investigation.
        You have the right to fundamentally disagree with me/ criticize me point for point backed up with facts not emotional gibberish because i honestly don’t know where this personal attack is coming from.
        As an Engineer of 15 years maybe in your world THE WORD ACCIDENT does not exists in the real world it does exists.
        Fact #1 both pilots combined had over 1000hours of flying
        Fact #2 WIND shear which can be a deadly bursts of downward wind can and does affect helicopters and causes accidents
        Fact #3 Helicopters are sensitive birds which have nothing to do with the hours it had flown that day 15 trips is not a lot of trips which in times of war can fly or is expected to fly twice as many trips as that. AND MOST TRIPS WERE PROBABLY SHORT TRIPS FROM WARRI TO to the brass county so what are you rambling on about? .Helicopters do malfunction brand new or usedand they have hard landings , soft landings, or roll overs they are all called accidents.
        Fact #4 Unless you have flown or were there in the cockpit and are alive you have no business lecturing me on what constitutes an accident or not because you are not qualified unless you have the facts with you
        Again without harrasing/ any body and sounding very adultlike let us wait till all the facts emerge before speculating regardless it WAS AND IS AN ACCIDENT BY ANY DEFINITION.


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