The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and the Group Managing Director of Oando Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu, on Monday visited the family of the late Group General Manager of the Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Levi Ajuonuma.
The minister was accompanied by Tinubu to the Ajuonumas’ home in Opebi, Ikeja, commiserated with the members of the late journalist and Public Relations (PR) practitioner.
Mrs Alison-Madueke extolled the proficiency of the late Ajuonuma, saying he always ensured an effective communication of activities in the oil and gas industry.
She said: "You all knew him very well and how forthright he was; how much he enjoyed his job and how well he did it.
"Ajuonuma did not only speak for the NNPC but also for the oil and gas sector and the nation as a whole, wherever he went.
"It is very hard to express how we feel about him. His exit has caused lots of pains to his family and us at the oil and gas industry. But we cannot question God. We just pray that the Lord will give us and his family the strength, guidance, protection and grace to bear the loss."
The minister prayed that God would give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
People, according to her, say getting somebody like Ajuonuma would be very difficult.
She said this is because the late NNPC spokesman was a unique individual. "It is very difficult to get a unique individual like him. But our concern presently is much more for the family members and what they are going through," she added.
Tinubu noted that Ajuonuma’s death is a great loss to the oil and gas sector, adding that he was a good man who worked hard at the NNPC and oil and gas sector.
"All of us in the oil and gas sector regarded him so much," he said.
In a statement in Abuja by Dr. Omar Ibrahim, the General Manager, Media Relations Department of the NNPC, the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mr. Austen Oniwon, said the corporation was shocked at the news of the air crash.
Oniwon spoke from the United States, where he is attending an official assignment.
He said: "The NNPC, as a family, is united in faith with God, who is All-Knowing. It is only God that can comfort and console us in this dark hour.
"I pray for the repose of the gentle souls of our departed colleagues, members of their families and other Nigerians and the international passengers and crew in the ill-fated aircraft and for God to grant the nation, the families that lost their beloved ones the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss."
The NNPC chief condoled with President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, NNPC workers and the Nigerian oil and gas industry sector on the death of the airline’s passengers in the crash.
"In this trying period, the NNPC family must keep faith," he said.
Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, who was the Group General Manger, Group Public Affairs Division, and other three members of staff of NNPC lost their lives in the crash but the NNPC management said it would announce the full list of staff involved in the ill-fated aircraft today.