A POLICE helicopter conveying four senior police officers in Jos, Plateau State yesterday, burst into flames mid-air and crashed, killing all occupants, including the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Operations at Force Headquarters, Mr. John Haruna.
The incident occurred at West Side in Kabong Area of Gada Biu, Jos North Local Council at about 11.30 a.m.
A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Olusola Amore, stated: “The Nigeria Police wishes to announce the death of DIG Haruna John, the DIG-in-charge of Operations, FHQ, Abuja; ACP (Asst. Commissioner of Police) Garba Yalwa – Pilot; CSP (Chief Superintendent of Police) Alexander Pwol-Ja, Co-pilot and Sgt. Sonatian Shirunam – orderly to the DIG.
“The tragic incident occurred at about 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday March 14, 2012 in Jos, Plateau State. The officers were on routine aerial patrol aboard a Police Helicopter before the unfortunate mishap. The Force, in conjunction with other relevant government agencies, has since commenced investigation into the incident.
“Burial arrangements for the deceased officers will be announced after due consultation with their families.”
According to eyewitnesses, the fast-burning helicopter plummeted on the side of a building, rolled over and rested between two structures.
Security officers, including soldiers of the Special Task Force (STF), the Police, the State Security Service (SSS), Immigration, Prisons Service, Civil Defence Corps, Customs, the Fire Service and the area’s youths who raced to the scene unsuccessfully tried to put out the fire by dousing the charred helicopter with water.
Eventually, they succeeded in removing the charred remains of the crash victims from the burnt helicopter.
No casualties were recorded in the buildings where the helicopter crashed.
Meanwhile, the helicopter’s black box had been found and handed over to the police authorities.
But according to sources in Jos, Haruna was in Plateau State on Tuesday for a meeting of security agencies and religious leaders at the Police Officers’ Mess.
Commissioner of Police, Plateau State, Mr. Emmanuel Dipo Ayeni, was yesterday at the ‘A’ Division Police Station in Jos to see Haruna off on the ill-fated return journey to Abuja.
Ayeni was on his way to the State Police Headquarters when the crash occurred.
Haruna served as an Assistant Superintendent of Police in Plateau State in 2004.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday expressed “utmost sadness” at the “tragic death” of the senior police officers in the helicopter crash.
Also, the Plateau government has described the death of Haruna and three others as a painful loss to the government and people of the state, especially to the peace efforts for which they died.
A statement by the State Commissioner for Information, Abraham Yiljap, stated that “as a mark of honour, Governor Jonah Jang has postponed the meeting of the Plateau Executive Council which was about to start when news of the crash came to him.”
Presidential Spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, said in a statement that President Jonathan saw the deaths as unfortunate and “a temporary setback” to government’s efforts to guarantee security in Nigeria.
The statement stated: “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has received with utmost sadness the tragic news of the death of senior police officers in a helicopter crash today in Jos, Plateau State. The President described the accident as unfortunate and a temporary setback especially at this time that all security forces are making concerted efforts to guarantee security throughout the country.’’
Similarly, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has expressed “deep sorrow” over Haruna’s death.
In a statement by his media office in Abuja, Abubakar stated that Haruna was “one of the most dedicated police officers he has ever known and admired.”
Also, Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), yesterday described Haruna’s death in the helicopter crash “as a sad and tragic loss, not only to the Nigeria Police Force, but to the nation at large.”
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has described as “tragic and sorrowful” the helicopter crash which claimed Haruna’s life and three others.
Uduaghan recalled Haruna’s time in the Delta State Police Command, stressing that the late police officer was diligent and hard working.
Also, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State yesterday mourned the death of the police officers in the helicopter crash, describing it as “a regrettable loss to the nation.”
He recalled his association with the late Haruna who he said served in Anambra State as Commissioner of Police, describing him as “a fine officer who exemplified professionalism in the discharge of his duties.”
Obi stated: “I extend my deepest sympathy and that of the government and people of Anambra State to the families of the deceased, the Inspector General of Police and the President.”
Also, Former Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, yesterday lamented the death of Haruna, saying: “It is a pity that a fine officer like Haruna had to die this way. I pray that God should give his family fortitude to bear the loss.”
Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam and former governor of Lagos, Bola Tinibu also expressed condolences.
Similarly, former Commissioner of Police, Frank Odita, described Haruna as a policeman who loved the job of policing.
When reporters visited the home of Haruna’s widow at Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos, yesterday, they were not allowed to enter the house. The Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ago Division even arrested one of them for attempting to take photographs in the neighbourhood.
In a reaction, spokesman, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Tunji Oketunbi, said: “We are aware of the crash and we are taking appropriate steps over the matter. We are also collaborating with the Police. We are on standby and ready to offer every possible assistance”.
Already, a team of accident investigators from the AIB has been dispatched to the crash site for preliminary investigations into the cause of the mishap, Oketunbi stated.
The AIB is statutorily charged with investigating air crashes in the country. However, it might be constrained in this particular case if the helicopter was on surveillance or security operations while it crashed, as this would then be deemed a security matter, which only the Armed Forces could investigate.
Also, Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, told The Guardian: “The NCAA has sent inspectors to the site of the crash to have a first-hand knowledge of what could have caused the accident. It is premature at this stage to know the cause of the accident until investigation is concluded.”
DIG John Haruna: A Profile
DEPUTY Inspector-General of Police (DIG) John Haruna was born on August 16, 1956, in Karim Lamido Local Council of Taraba State. He enlisted into the Nigeria Police on June 5, 1978 as a Cadet Inspector and rose through the ranks to become a Deputy Inspector-General of Police. He served as Commissioner of Police in Anambra, Niger, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and Benue State police commands.
He was promoted to the position of DIG last month by the Police Service Commission sequel to recommendation of the IGP. Haruna served as Deputy Commissioner of Police ‘B’ (Operations) Lagos State and Acting Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command.
While in service, Haruna attended several professional courses within and outside the country. He was at Wakefield UK for General Investigation Course, where he passed out as the best Commonwealth student. He was also in China in 2009 and 2010 for Professional Police Leadership Trainings.
He would have been due for retirement next year.
Kwara Governor, Abdulrazaq Declares 24-hour Curfew
Following the outbreak of violence in some quarters of the State, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has declared a 24-hour Curfew on the state starting on Saturday.
Governor Abdulrazaq made this known in a statewide broadcast on Friday night.
Recall that on Friday some residents of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital stormed the warehouses where the government stored COVID-19 palliatives expected to be distributed to citizens.
Also Read: BREAKING: Lagos Government Relaxes Curfew
The warehouses, located at the cargo warehouse of the International airport in Ilorin as well as the agro-mall located in the Sango area of the state were totally ransacked as residents struggled to pack as much food items as they could.
Abdulrazaq said, “Lives are being threatened. Businesses are being looted. Public properties have been targeted. This is unacceptable. It is not who we are.
“To curb these acts of criminalities, I hereby declare a 24-hour curfew in Ilorin metropolis from midnight today October 23rd, 2020. This is in line with Sections 1, 2, and 4 of the Public Order Act Chapter 382 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“People are urged to stay indoors in compliance with this curfew. This will be reviewed as we watch developments.
“Our observation is that what has happened today is not a protest, it cannot be defended under any guide, it was a pure act of criminality as some people are hiding under the guise of nationwide protest.”
Lagos Policemen Brutalise PUNCH Journalists For Covering #EndSARS Protest
Two PUNCH journalists, Femi Dawodu and Segun Odunayo, were on Wednesday brutalised by policemen guarding the Lagos State House of Assembly in Ikeja.
The duo had gone to cover events around the Alausa area, a major demonstration ground of the #EndSARS protesters calling for a total overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force.
According to the PUNCH, both Odunayo and Dawodu were recording a live video of activities in the area when the policemen accosted them and ordered them to stop the recording.
After showing the policemen their identity cards, indicating that they are journalists covering #EndSARS protests and monitoring compliance with the government-imposed curfew, the policemen became annoyed and pounced on them.
Odunayo said the policemen tortured them for four hours, adding that they stripped them of their clothes, laid them on the floor, beat them with a stick and guns, and took a video recording of them while torturing them at the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Odunayo said, “Femi and I were at the Secretariat in Alausa around 7 am and were doing a live video of the activities going on in the area. We were heading back to the expressway when a group of armed policemen accosted us at the Lagos State House of Assembly roundabout and immediately collected our phones. We showed them our ID cards, but they refused to let us go.
“What got the policemen annoyed was that we saw them using a stick and a rubber to beat a young man, and during the live video, they heard me saying that they were beating someone. So, after they arrested us, they tortured us and demanded that we should do another live video denying the statement, but we refused.
“Each Time we refused, they slapped us, used a stick to beat us, used the butt of their guns to hit our heads and bodies after stripping us of our clothes. All they wanted was for us to do another live broadcast to claim that we lied and we didn’t because we told the truth.”
Dawodu said it took the intervention of the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi before they were released at the Alausa Police Station, adding that before their release, the policemen took their details, including their addresses, took a video record of them and threatened to go after them if any negative report was published about what happened.
He said, “The policemen were transferring the aggression of what is happening regarding the #EndSARS protest on us. They later took us to the Divisional Police Station in Alausa, and if not for the DPO, the policemen guarding the LSHA that arrested us would have done more grievous things to us.
“The PPRO and the DPO later spoke with them, and we were released.
“But despite his intervention, we were told to write statements. They collected our details, address, took video recordings of us making false statements during the torture, and threatened to use it to blackmail and go after us if we end up doing any bad report against them.”
CCTV At Lekki Toll Gate Was Not Removed -Lekki Concession Company Says
Lekki Concession Company in their press release has debunked the rumour that the Lekki Toll Gate CCTV camera was not removed.
According to the press release by the company which condemns the unlawful killings of the peaceful protesters said no one gave the order for the removal of the Closed Circuit Television System as the CCTV is still intact as of the time of this report.
Speaking further, the concession company revealed that if the CCTV was to be removed, it would require the use of machinery to reach the heights that they have been installed.
Read the release report below;
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