The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has confirmed the death of the Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa, and a former National Security Adviser, Andrew Azazi, in a helicopter crash. Both men were members of the party.
"Our great Party is shocked beyond imagination and no words can adequately give expression to the depth of our grief. What a colossal loss," party's spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, said in a statement. "The nation has lost a great patriot who in about two years in saddle as the Governor of Kaduna State demonstrated an unyielding capacity in wielding together varying fragile interests. He rendered quality stewardship to his people. Even in the face of daunting security challenges, nothing came close to compromising his iron cast resolve and faith that the phase must certainly pass. It is unfortunate that the nation has lost him at this critical curve in our national history."
"On behalf of the National Executive Committee and other members of the PDP, the National Chairman of our great Party, Dr. Bamanga Tukur wishes to condole with the government and the people of Kaduna State as well as the family of late Governor Yakowa on this very painful loss. Your tear is our broken heart!"
"We wish to also send our heartfelt condolence to the family of General Azazi as well as to the families of other Nigerians involved in the unfortunate crash. We beseech God to give them the strength to withstand this harshest sting of the painful loss of dear ones," the statement added.
Corpses taken to morgue
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said it has confirmed that conclusion of the search and rescue operation.
"The operation, which involved collaborations of response agencies and volunteers, led to the recovery of the bodies of the six passengers on-board the the helicopter.
"While the bodies have been deposited in the mortuary, further details on the victims will soon be announced after their families have been formally informed," a statement from NEMA said.
Navy confirms crash
The Nigerian Navy earlier issued a statement saying one of its patrol helicopters crashed around 3:30pm in Bayelsa state.
The statement signed by the Director of Information Commodore Kabir Aliyu said the chopper was conveying important personalities when it crashed but did not state the casualty figure or their identities.
It 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."
The Kaduna state government is yet to issue an official statement on the death.