Nine months after a police helicopter crashed in Jos, Plateau State, killing a newly promoted Deputy Inspector General of Police, Haruna John, and three other senior police officers, the police have yet to get the report of investigation into the incident.
Findings by our correspondent in Abuja indicated that the Accident Investigation Bureau which investigated the crash had yet to submit its findings to the police authorities.
The chopper which crashed into a house in Jos on March 14, 2012 also claimed the lives of the pilot, Garba Yalwa, his assistant, Alexander Pwol-Ja, a Chief Superintendent of Police and an orderly to the DIG, Sonatian Shirunam, a sergeant.
Following the crash, the police administration grounded its fleet of helicopters to enable aviation experts carry out an audit to determine their airworthiness.
In the aftermath of the incident, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, had stated that an investigative panel would be set up to work alongside the AIB.
SUNDAY PUNCH however gathered on Friday that the panel was not set up.
It was authoritatively learnt that the AIB spurned the idea of a police panel probing the crash, saying it would amount to duplication of efforts.
A senior police source who pleaded anonymity said, “Though the IG had wanted a police probe panel to work with the AIB following widespread and strong suspicions that the crash might have been a result of sabotage.
“But the AIB discouraged the setting up of a police panel and it was not set up as earlier planned. To the best of my knowledge, the AIB has not submitted the report of the crash to the police, and I don’t think the police management has applied to the bureau for the report.”
The police could not be reached for official comments as the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, did not respond to calls and a text message sent to his phone.
Spokesman for the Bureau of Accident Investigation, Mr. Tunji Ojetunde, however told Sunday Punch that the bureau had gone far in investigating the accident but added that it had not reached.
He said, “Investigating an accident can take time. It is a very intricate thing. You were not there when it happened. The aircraft could have crashed and got burnt. You need to reconstruct what happened.
“This might involve interviewing people. It could involve flying some parts abroad. It can involve seeking expert opinion.
“It is very complex and takes time. The world average period for investigating an accident is 18 months.
“If we had reached the stage of releasing report, we would have done that. So the investigation is ongoing but we have gone far.”
A naval helicopter that crashed in Bayelsa State on December 15, which claimed the lives of Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa and a former National Security Adviser, Owoye Azazi and three others, had also elicited suspicions of sabotage.
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