* Deceased paid tribute to wife for ‘staying home alone’ hours before death
Following the death of five officials of the Nigerian Air Force in a helicopter crash on Wednesday during an air operation against Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State, Nigerians have continued to pay tributes to the fallen heroes.
The air force spokesperson, Ibikunle Daramola, who provided details of the crash in a statement on Thursday, named the five victims as Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob, who was the Pilot-in-Command and Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Paul Kilyofas as Co-Pilot. Others were Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim, a Flight Technician as well as Lance Corporal Adamu Nura and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael.
The case of the Pilot-in- Command, Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob, about whom it has emerged, only got married 25 days before his death, has left Nigerians feeling really sad. According to information available to Saturday Telegraph, Perowei tied the knot on December 8, meaning his marriage to his young bride lasted only 25 days before he died along with his co-pilot and three crew members on Wednesday night.
The fighter helicopter, an Mi-35M, reportedly crashed while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak, Borno state. The heartbreaking scenario has seen many Nigerians mourning the gallant military men and thanking them for their service to the nation., with many on social media sending prayers and well wishes to the families of the heroes and especially to the widow of late Perowei. President Muhammadu, in a post shared on his verified Twitter account, mourned the passing of the Armed Forces personnel, writing: “I mourn our Armed Forces personnel who lost their lives in a military helicopter crash in Damasak, Borno State yesterday.
“Heartfelt condolences to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Nigerian Air Force, and the families of the dead.
These fine officers and men lost their lives striving to guarantee our safety and protection as a people and a nation. Their sacrifices will never be in vain. May their souls rest in peace.” Among one of those to offer his tributes was Fela Durotoye, presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), who tweeted on Thursday: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of two pilots and three personnel of the Nigerian Air Force who sadly lost their lives in a helicopter crash which occurred in Damasak, Borno State, yesterday. May the labours of our fallen he roes never be in vain.”
Moved by the death of Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob, Twitter user @ Cheekah1_ also wrote: “A pilot in the Nigerian Airforce just died not up to one month after his wedding… this news is just heart breaking and sad” while @ElisaKreations wrote: “May God comfort the families of the departed souls.
Surrender the soul to the departed to rest in perfect peace with the Lord.” Seeking to put a perspective to it, @3101771be59d463 wrote: “One of the fallen heroes got married on the 8th of December 2018, his wife became a widow at just three week two days after wedding. What a sad moment!” Awoyemi O. Reuben, a friend of the deceased pilot on social media platform, Facebook, also put the matter in words for other to dissect. “The pilot who died in that helicopter crash, Flt lieutenant Perowei Jacob. Got married on the 8th Dec 2018. Died 2nd Jan 2019. Sad and unfortunate. May his soul rest in peace.”
Commenting, Awe Olayinka, wrote: “This is very unfortunate” while Rufus Akinrelere wrote: “Very sad RIP.” On her own, Janet Agboola simply reacted to the Facebook post by writing: “This is serious ooo. RIP” as Olusegun Ene Victoria said: “This is too painful. Also reacting to the post, Dr. Eniola Olaitan Ajayi, the Nigerian Ambassador to Hungary, responded thus: “Amen.
Very sad.” With many Nigerians barely able to come to terms with the tragic incident, a friend of the Co-Pilot of the crashed helicopter, Kaltho Paul Kilyofas, an indigene of Gombe State, has reacted taken on social media. The friend, Emmanuel Okojie, who is seemingly still in shock, posted photos of the deceased pilot along with the caption: “Rest in Peace Kaltho Paul Kilyofas this one weak me…”
Also, Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim, the Flight Techinician attached to the helicopter, left behind two young children, a girl and a boy. Sharing photos of Ibrahim with his children, Mustapha Haruna, who claimed to be a classmate of the deceased, wrote: “INNA LILLAHI WA INNA ILAIHIRRAHIUUN With a sorrow to share the pensive mode and announce the demise of a friend classmate….. SGT AUWAL IBRAHIM who died yesterday during operations in Helicopter crash, May ALLAH (SWA) forgive your sin and accept the good deed, make Jannatul firdaus your final destination and bless your family.”
On the day he died also, Lance Corporal Adamu Nura, had celebrated wives of military men, writing that “marriage to a soldier is the greatest sacrifice of life.” The late Nura, a Gunner (supporter of Arsenal Footbal Club) who also left two young children, had hours before his death, taken to Facebook to celebrate his wife and other women married to military men, writing: “MY WIFE! MY LOVE!! MY QUEEN!!! I salute you. My man of the year goes to all the WIVES of our soldiers who stay home alone and lonely while their husbands suffer in the dangerous field of war zones.
“Marriage to a soldier is the greatest sacrifice of life. Any woman who marries a soldier can do anything for love. She knows the uncertainty of her marriage but because of her patriotic and true love, she reached a vow to a soldier. “Any woman married to a soldier should be celebrated and appreciated. Her husband is not hers alone but for the nation. A soldier can spend a whole year without seeing his wife or family and the diligent woman would remain faithful to the union.
“In a sane clime, special considerations would have been given to wives of soldiers but here we look away as if their condition matters not.
Where ever you are today, stand erect and show respect to the wives of our gallant men. “God shall bring your sacrificial men back home safe and healthy. We appreciate your support at the home front. For those whose husbands are no more, God shall send your helpers. God bless the WIVES of our soldiers. Appreciatively musing.”