A military aircraft today crash-landed in Port Harcourt after it developed “an emergency,” an official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed, butnobody aboard the craft was killed.
A source in the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) said that the vehicle involved was one of the helicopters and was on a routine training mission. The two crew members forced the chopper to land after it developed “an engine problem,” he said.
Just three days ago, a fighter jet also belonging to NAF crashed in Niger, killing its two crew. The jet was said to have been participating in military operations against al Qaeda-linked Islamic militants in Mali.
Today’s crash follows a steady history of air crashes involving military equipment, which are generally suspected to be poorly-maintained, some of them routinely diverted from professional and security operations to service the private needs of the political elite, including private parties, weddings and funerals.
Last year, a Nigeria Navy helicopter running funeral errands for presidential aide Oronto Douglas crashed in Bayelsa, killing theKaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa; a former National Security Adviser, Andrew Owoye Azazi; and four others. It was subsequently said to have had “engine trouble.”
Also in late 2012, it was learned that Mr. Jonathan has ordered two new luxury AW-101 VIP helicopters from AgustaWestland, the Italy-based Anglo-Italian company, at a cost of $40 million. When he took office in 2010, Mr. Jonathan’s first achievement was the order of three new presidential jets to be added to the presidential pool.