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Preliminary report says Wigwe’s helicopter was seen as ‘fireball’ before crash

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The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says law enforcement and witnesses in vehicles saw the helicopter carrying Herbert Wigwe, the group chief executive officer (GCEO) of Access Holdings Plc, as a “fireball” before its eventual crash.

The GCEO of Access Holdings was in the chopper with registration N130CZ alongside his wife, son and Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the former group chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group).

All six people onboard have been confirmed dead.

In a preliminary investigation report, the NTSB said the witnesses reported that the weather on the fateful day of the helicopter crash was a mix of rain and snow.

The board said the automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) technology built in the helicopter that provides the position of an aircraft, recorded an increase in ground speed before the crash.

“The accident flight departed Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) at 2045 under visual flight rules and flew a northwesterly heading for about 2 miles before following US Highway 111 to Interstate (I) 10 at altitudes varying between 2,500 – 3,000 ft mean sea level (msl),” the report read in part.

“The helicopter continued along I-10, crossed over San Bernadino International Airport, San Bernadino, California, and then followed I-215 to I-15.

“The helicopter followed I-15 toward the planned destination of Boulder City Municipal Airport (BVU), Boulder City, Nevada, climbed between 4,000 – 5,500 ft msl, then descended to about 3,500 ft msl near Barstow, California, where the ADS-B track data was lost about 2146, likely due to terrain interference.

“ADS-B data resumed at 2207 near the Halloran Springs/I-15 exit west of the accident location. The last ADS-B data points for the flight tracked east-southeast, gradually descended in altitude, and increased in ground speed (see Figures 1 and 2).

“The accident site was located 0.31 miles east-southeast of the last data point at an elevation of about 3,360 ft msl.

“According to law enforcement, several witnesses who were traveling in vehicles on I-15, called 911 to report observing a ‘fireball’ to the south.

“The witnesses reported the weather conditions in the area were “not good” and raining with a snow mix. The accident site was located by law enforcement at 2346.”

The board said the “wreckage was located in high mountainous desert and scrub brush covered terrain, and
debris were scattered about 300 ft along a 120° magnetic heading from the initial impact point”.

“All major helicopter components were identified at the accident site,” the report indicated.

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Police detain Yahaya Bello’s ADC, security details

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The Nigeria Police Force has detained a female police officer who was the aide-de-camp to embattled former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.

The ADC was arrested alongside other police officers attached to 48-year-old Bello, and is being detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Their arrests and detention followed a Thursday night order by the Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, directing their immediate withdrawal from the former governor.

Senior police sources, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity because they did not have authorisation to comment publicly on the matter, noted that the officers were arrested on the suspicion that they aided and abetted Bello’s escape from operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, who had gone to effect his arrest at his Abuja home on Wednesday.

“The ADC and the other police details attached to Yahaya Bello have been arrested and detained.

“They were arrested on the order of the IG, on the suspicion that they aided and abetted the former governor’s escape from the EFCC on Wednesday,” one of the sources told our correspondent in a telephone conversation on Friday.

Another source said, “Yahaya Bello’s female ADC and other police officers attached to him were brought to the command this morning, and they’ve been detained for aiding and abetting (the governor’s escape).”

Egbetokun had, on Thursday night, ordered the withdrawal of all police officers attached to Bello.

The order for the withdrawal was contained in a police wireless message sighted by our correspondent on Friday morning.

The document read, “CB:4001/DOPS/PMF/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.48/ 34 X ORDER AND DIRECTIVES X FOLLOWING MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM NIGPOL.

“DOPS ABUJA X BEGINS X CB:4001/DOPS/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.21/462 DTO:180955/04/2024 X ORDER AND DIRECTIVES X REF MYLET NO CB:3412/DOPS/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.1/36 DATED 15/04/2024 X AND MY EARLIER LET NO CB:3412/DOPS/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.1/30 DATED 24/01/2024 X Nigeria police have ordered the withdrawal of all men.

“Police attached to His Excellency and former Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, should acknowledge compliance and treat with utmost importance. Please above for your information and strict compliance.”

Also, the Federal Government had on Thursday night placed Bello on a watch list.

In a document exclusively obtained by our correspondent on Thursday night, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, revealed that Bello was placed on a watchlist for conspiracy, breach of trust, and money laundering.

The Assistant Comptroller General signed the document and copied the Nigeria Customs Service, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the Department of State Services, and the Director of the National Internet Agency.

The document read, “I am directed to inform you that the above-named person has been placed on a watch list. Suffice to mention that the subject is being prosecuted before the Federal High Court Abuja for Conspiracy, Breach of Trust and Money Laundering vide letter Ref; CR; 3000/EFCC/LS/EGCS.1/TE/V 1/279 dated April 18, 2024.

“If seen at any entry or exit point, he should be arrested and referred to the Director of Investigation, or contact 08036226329/07039617304 for further action.

“Please, accept as always the Comptroller-General’s warmest regards and esteem.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had earlier declared Bello wanted for laundering the sum of N80,246,470,088.88.

The development was contained in a notice posted on the commission’s official Facebook page on Thursday, with a snapshot of the embattled ex-governor attached.

The notice read, “The public is hereby notified that Yahaya Adoza Bello (former Governor of Kogi State), whose photograph appears above is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in connection with an alleged case of Money Laundering to the tune of N80,246,470,089.88 (Eighty Billion, Two Hundred and Forty Six Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand and Eighty Nine Naira, Eighty Eight Kobo).

“Bello, a 48-year-old Ebira man, is a native of Okenne Local Government of Kogi State. His last known address is: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja. Anybody with useful information as to his whereabouts should please contact the Commission.”

Bello had, on Thursday, failed to appear before Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja following his arraignment by the EFCC.

The embattled former governor was arraigned in absentia before Justice Emeka Nwite alongside three other suspects, Ali Bello, Dauda Suleiman and Abdulsalam Hudu on 19-count charges bordering on money laundering.

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Owners to pay fine as Anambra sets to remove illegal structures

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The Anambra government says it will soon commence the removal of illegal structures across the state.

In a statement issued on Friday, Paul Nwosu, information commissioner in Anambra, said owners of such illegal structures would “bear the cost of the logistics of removal”.

“Anambra State Government has noticed that in spite of the warnings given to owners of illegal structures to remove them, these notices have been largely disregarded,” the statement reads.

“This government is a proponent of law and order, and therefore will not condone any flagrant violation of legitimate directives given in the interest of public good.

“Government has repeatedly stated that these illegal structures distort and completely mangle our cities’ original masterplan. This has resulted in the blocking of our drainages and water channels, causing flooding and, sometimes, loss of lives. This can no longer be tolerated as the rainy season is just around the corner.

“Let it be known therefore that as the government has directed individuals, companies, market and park leaders to commence intensive desilting of their gutters and drainages, it will soon start a sustained campaign to remove illegal structures.

“Owners of such structures are therefore advised to remove them on their own so that they can carefully evacuate their belongings.

“But where they ignore government notices and the structures are removed by the government, the owner(s) of such structure(s) will bear the cost of the logistics of removal. The owner of the structure will be given a stipulated time to pay, after which the property/goods within would be disposed to settle the cost.”

Nwosu added that some of the illegal structures might have been erected by the owners out of ignorance of the law or other reasons.

“But now that they know, it is only proper they remove the structures by themselves to avoid the harsh consequences that may trail their negligence to act promptly,” he said.

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Ex-Oyo gov, Olunloyo debunks death rumour, says I’m alive

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An elder statesman and former governor of old Oyo State, Dr Omololu Olunloyo, has broken his silence about the rumour of his death, saying he is alive.

Olunloyo who spoke with The PUNCH correspondent who visited his Molete residence in Ibadan, the state capital on Friday said he was hale and hearty.

Earlier, the rumour of the death of the elder statesman was reported by some news platforms (not The PUNCH).

However, Olunloyo, while speaking said, “I’m still here, not yet gone.”

He also expressed worry over the rumour and asked who would live forever, stressing, “Those breaking death news and the person presumed dead will all die one day.

“I’ve been lucky. My father died at 42, while my mother died at 102. I’m 89. I’ve crossed the expected life age.”

The elder statesman also illustrated how the rumour of his death hit several news platforms on June 7, 2022.

He noted that the rumour mongers claimed that he died at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.

A few days later, the family issued a statement, declaring that he was not dead but suffering from old age ailment and asked Nigerians to pray for him to survive the health complications.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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