Wife of Nigerian Airforce pilot, Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob, who died in the January 2, 2019, Mi-35M helicopter crash, has said that she learnt of his death on WhatsApp.
Diepriye Jacob shared her agony in a telephone conversation with a PUNCH correspondent.
The Jacobs got married on December 8, 2018, three weeks before the tragic military operation
Mrs Jacob said she learnt about the death via the WhatsApp status update of one of his colleagues, who was unaware that she had his number.
“My husband left for the trip five days after we got married and since he left, I’ve been alone. We spoke before he took off on the trip. When I tried his number at night, it was not going through and I switched off my phone afterwards. The following morning, I tried reaching him again, but it still was not going through.
“I went on WhatsApp and I saw the picture of my husband and his co-pilot with the caption: ‘Rest in Peace’ on the status update of one of his colleagues, who didn’t know that I had his WhatsApp number. When I saw it, I was so shocked that I threw my phone away in disbelieve. I picked it up again and went through it. Just as I was about running out of the house, the commander arrived to confirm my fear,” she said.
Relieving the times they shared together, Mrs Jacob said “we had been together for two years before we got married. Aside from his life as a military officer, my husband was a very jovial person. He was free, open-hearted, kind and loving; not just to me, but to everybody around him.
“He did not like to see unhappy people around him. He was the kind of person that even if it was the last dime on him and someone else needed money; he would give it out even if it was not convenient for him.
“I will miss his jokes. There was a way we communicated, which was unique to the two of us; I will miss that. I will also miss the way he related with people. To me, he was the best pilot I knew; so, I never put the risk of his job to heart coupled with the fact that we just got married; I did not see his death coming.
“It was an honour to be married to him; I am proud of being married to him as the man of my dream. He affected many lives positively and people have been putting in so much efforts to support me. I want my husband to be remembered for dying for the country; he died a hero. I want the world to remember that and accord him and the other soldiers due respect.”
The NAF helicopter crashed while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak, Borno, killing Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob – pilot-in-command, Flight Lt- Kaltho Paul Kilyofas – co-pilot, Sgt. Auwal Ibrahim – flight technician, Lance Corporal Adamu Nura – gunner and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael – gunner.
The remains of the officers were laid to rest on Tuesday at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja with full military honours, amidst wailing by family members, relatives and sympathizers.
Helicopter crash: Nigerian Air Force announces burial date for victims.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Monday announced the date for the burial of five crew members, who died in the MI-35 helicopter that crashed at Damask, Borno State
It was reported that the helicopter crashed while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion on the 2nd of January, 2019.
The funeral will take place on January 8 at the National Military Cemetery, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Way, Abuja.
The five crew members are: Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob (Pilot in Command), Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Paul Kilyofas (Co-Pilot), Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim (Flight Technician), Lance Corporal Adamu Nura (Gunner) and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael (Gunner).