By EVELYN USMAN
LAGOS— President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday in Lagos, described the death of retired Gen. Andrew Azazi in the Dec. 15 helicopter crash in Bayelsa as a great loss to Nigeria and the international community.
Jonathan made the remark during a condolence visit to the family of Azazi at his Ikoyi residence in Lagos.
Azazi, Jonathan’s former National Security Adviser, NSA, was killed along with Kaduna State’s former governor, Patrick Yakowa, two pilots – Cdr. Muritala Daba and Lt. Adeyemi Sowole.
Others are the orderly to Azazi, Warrant Officer Kamal Mohammed and a prominent politician from Kaduna, Mr. Dauda Psokho.
Azazi, who was the Chief of Defence Staff in former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, also served as Chief of Army Staff between 2006 and 2007.
The late General was born at Peretorugbene, Bayelsa, on Feb.1, 1952.
Jonathan, who spoke through his Chief of Staff, Mr. Mike Oghiadomhe, said a special Federal Executive Council meeting was held in his honour because of the respect he had for Azazi.
“He was a distinguished army officer, who excelled himself as a very committed and patriotic Nigerian.
“Azazi’s good quality of character, professional competence and integrity made me to call him back to chair the Flood Disaster Committee after his retirement as NSA,” he said.
The president prayed to God to grant the family the courage to bear the pains of Azazi’s demise.
NAN also reports that the president, who later held a closed-door meeting with Azazi’s wife, signed the condolence register before he departed to the State House Annex, Ikoyi.
Jonathan was accompanied by three ministers — Stella Oduah (Aviation), Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (Petroleum Resources), Mrs. Olusola Obada (Defence) and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika.