Yakowa-Azazi helicopter tragedy
From DESMOND MGBOH, Kano
Widow of the pilot of the helicopter that crashed in Bayelsa State, last Saturday, Hajia Ummu Abubakar Daba, yesterday in Kano bade her husband goodbye, saying she would treasure every moment of their marital life. Hajia spoke during a condolence visit by Daily Sun to their family home in Yarkasuwa Quarters, Dala, which is located in the city walls of Kano.
“I remember everything about my husband, I will remember everything about him and I will remember him in this special way,” she declared amidst intermittent sobs when asked what were the things she remembered most about her husband. In his honour, the naval authorities yesterday decorated Commander Mohammed Murtala Daba with the Forces Service Star (FSS) medal post-humously. He had merited the medal of honour, but could not be formally decorated until he passed on last Saturday. Commander Daba was only recently decorated with the rank of a naval commander.
This came as the late pilot was laid to rest according to Islamic rites at the Dandolo Cemetery in Kano. Chief Imam of Bakin Ruwa Mosque, Mallam Haliru, who prayed for the repose of Daba’s soul, led the funeral prayer. Daily Sun observed that while the men went for the funeral, all the sorrowful women remained at home to console his widow, who had since become frail on account of the huge shock of the tragedy. Hajia Daba said the death of her husband was painful, adding that she was not expecting anything like death in the family, even as she acknowledged that theirs was a very close marriage, full of joy and laughter.
“Honestly, I cannot actually express how I feel now or how I felt when I heard the news (of his death) because I didn’t see it coming. We have always had a wonderful time together,” she lamented. She disclosed that the last time she saw her husband alive was last month, precisely on November 21 before he was called up for official duty. Talking about what she was doing when she heard the news, she said: “I had just returned home from a child dedication in Lagos, because we live in Lagos. And a friend called me to ask if “I have heard that my husband was involved in a crash.”
She added that the friend, however, lied to her that her husband was in a stable condition and would soon get better. Speaking to Daily Sun, the immediate younger sister of the deceased, Hajia Hafsat Daba said the family was very sad and sorrowful over the pilot’s death. “Someone told me that a naval chopper had an accident at about 6.30pm and I said let me call my brother and ask who was in the helicopter. I tried his phone number and it did not go through and so I called his wife and she was crying on the phone, saying: “He is dead! He is dead!!” That was how I found out,” Hafsat recalled. Hajia Hafsat, who lives in United States and would be getting married on January 19, 2013, said she came back home to prepare for her wedding, only for the tragedy to overshadow her joy.
She noted that the last time she spoke to her brother, they shared several jokes and laughed themselves away: “I sent him a joke and he sent me a reply because he is a very jovial person. We shared jokes a lot. And I will say that was the last time I spoke to him.” Meanwhile, the wife of the Vice President, Hajia Amina Sambo was at the family home to condole with the widow. The vice president’s wife, accompanied by a light entourage, prayed for the repose of Daba’s soul and asked Allah to give the family the fortitude to bear the loss.