Following the great scare which saw Nigeria’s vice-president Yemi Osinbajo survive a helicopter crash on Saturday in Kabba, Kogi State, the VP’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, in an updated statement, said a total of 12 people were on board the VP’s chopper when it crashlanded. Aside from Osinbajo, there was the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Prof. Stephen Ocheni, senior presidential aides and the crew.
Akande revealed in the statement: “Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, departed Abuja around 1pm today on a chopper ride to Kogi State in continuation of the Family Chats & Next Level engagements. Prof Osinbajo headed first to Kabba, and while landing at the Kabba Stadium, the helicopter suddenly skidded sideways until it halted on its side few metres away from the intended resting spot.”
He added: “Alongside VP Osinbajo, the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Prof Stephen Ocheni, senior presidential aides, security officials and the crew; there were a total of 12 people on board. Everyone came out safely after the incident. We are grateful to God for His protection and safety, and we thank the crew and security personnel for their prompt response and service. We are also grateful for the tremendous expressions of concern and affection, as well as prayers from all. As is procedural, a full investigation into the causes of the incident would be conducted by aviation authorities. The Vice-President is continuing the planned engagements in Kogi State according to plan.”
According to an eye witness account, the vice president’s helicopter had managed to land at the township stadium before the propeller of the helicopter suddenly pulled off and went flying in the air to the surprise of party faithful who had gathered to welcome him. However, there was no casualty. It was learned that the pilot of the helicopter might have found it difficult to land due to the dusty nature of the stadium.
Osibanjo was billed to launch the TraderMoni scheme in Kabba and was expected to visit Okene in central part of the state as well as Idah in the eastern flank before returning to Abuja. He later addressed some party supporters at St Augustine’s College, Kabba field. Soon after the near-death experience, the vice-president was said to have been immediately evacuated from the scene of the accident into a waiting vehicle and was thereafter driven in a convoy of other political office holders to the palace of Obaro of Kabba, Oba Solomon Owoniyi, where he paid a courtesy call on the monarch.