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7 Prominent Nigerians who died in air crash

Air crash

Here is a rundown of 7 prominent Nigerians who died in air crash at one point in time or the other. While most of these incidents happened in Nigeria’s air space, there have been also a couple that occurred in skies far away.


The latest of such occurrences happened on the night of Friday, February 9, 2024, and claimed the life of Nigerian top banker Herbert Wigwe.

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As the nation continues to mourn the departed, we look at prominent Nigerians who died tragically in air crashes.


1. Pastor Bimbo Odukoya


The famous Nigerian pastor and televangelist Odukoya lost her life in a Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 that crash-landed at Port Harcourt International Airport on December 10, 2005.

She was among the 110 passengers that boarded the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 aircraft in Abuja, heading for Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

However, the plane slammed into the ground and burst into flames on landing. Seven survivors were pulled out of the wreck, but only two survived.


Fondly called ‘Pastor Bims,’ Odukoya was married to the co-founding pastor of the Fountain of Life Church, Taiwo Odukoya – the latter died on August 7, 2023.


2. Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa


On December 15, 2012, a helicopter flying from Bayelsa State to Port Harcourt crashed and killed the then-Governor of Kaduna State, Yakowa.

The incident occurred when the Governor, alongside the then-National Security Adviser, General Owoye Andrew Azazi, was returning from a funeral in Bayelsa state.


The deceased was the first person from Southern Kaduna and the first Christian to become governor of the state.


3. Andrew Azazi


Just like Yakowa, Azazi was on board the helicopter that crashed on December 15, 2012.

At the time, he was the NSA to President Goodluck Jonathan. Before his appointment by Jonathan, Azazi made a name for himself while serving as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and later as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).


On 20 August 2008, Umaru Yar’Adua replaced Azazi with Paul Dike as CDS and announced Azazi’s retirement from military service.


4. Pius Adesanmi


Adesanmi was a renowned Nigerian-born Canadian academic and author. He died on 10 March 2019, when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed shortly after take-off.

He was among the 157 passengers and crew members who died on the ill-fated Boeing 737 MAX 8. He met the fatal incident on his way to an African Union conference.


Hailing from Isanlu, in Yagba East local government area of Kogi State, Adesanmi spent most of his professional career lecturing in universities in the US and Canada.

He was also a regular columnist for a couple of online news platforms in Nigeria.


5. Herbert Wigwe


Wigwe, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Access Holdings, alongside his wife, Chizoba, and son, Chizi, was on board a Eurocopter EC 130 chopper that crashed near Nipton, a city between Nevada and California in the US.


Also aboard the ill-fated aircraft were a former Group Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, and two others.


6. Ibrahim Attahiru


On January 28, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru to replace Tukur Buratai as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

However, his stint was abruptly cut short on May 21, 2021, when he died in the 2021 NAF Beechcraft B300 King Air 350i crash near Kaduna International Airport.


7. Waziri Mohammed


As of the time of his death, Mohammed was the Chairman of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC). However, his influence was more significant than his post suggested.

He was a close aide to incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Mohammed was on board the Bellview Airlines Flight 210 that crashed in Lisa village, Ogun State, on 22 October 2005 en route to Abuja from Lagos.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737-200 airliner, nose-dived and crashed at high speed just a few minutes after take-off, killing all 117 people on board.

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