By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA – Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State on Sunday declared three days of mourning for the Governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser, Gen Andrew Owoye Azazi and four others who lost their lives in the naval helicopter crash in Bayelsa State on Saturday.
The deceased persons were retuning to Port Harcourt in the ill-fated chopper, with the inscription NN 07 when it crashed and burst into flames shortly after take off from Okoroba community in Nembe council area of the state.
They were among several dignitaries that visited the serene riverside town of Okoroba to commiserate with Oronto Douglas whose father, late Pa Tamunoobebara Douglas was interred Saturday.
Governor Dickson yesterday accompanied by former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the Chief of Naval Staff, Dele Ozeoba, top military chiefs and senior Bayelsa government officials visited the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre Yenagoa where the remains of the victims of the ill-fated helicopter were deposited.
Dickson who spoke to newsmen shortly after inspecting the remains of the crashed victims also directed that all flags at public places in the state be flown at half mast during the three days of mourning in honour of the contributions, services and sacrifices of the deceased.
He also cancelled all the state government engagements.
The governor who struggled to control his emotion said, “This is a very sad day for our dear state and great country. This day we are reminded once again of our mortality. It is a tragic and irreparable loss for this state, the government and the people of Kaduna State.
“God in his infinite wisdom and mercy will give the families of all the deceased persons the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. The Governor came visiting but didn’t return. We have just inspected the remains with some selected service Commanders.”
It was reliably gathered that the remains of the crashed victims were deposited at the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa between 2.30 and 3am Sunday by military personnel deployed to the mangrove swamp, the scene of the crash.
The bodies sources told Vanguard were conveyed to the Ogbia water front in Ogbia local government area in a convoy of boats accompanied by military gunboats. They were received by a waiting team of military personnel and top Bayelsa government officials before the remains were moved to the medical facility.
The Ogbia jetty was reportedly condoned off by military operatives.
Meanwhile, condolence registers have been opened in Government House and the State Secretariat complex in Yenagoa.