Azazi: Bishop Slams Military, Queries Safety Of Nation’s Airspace

azazi-casket-612x300The remains of former National Security Adviser (NSA), General Owoeye Andrew Azazi, was finally committed to mother earth yesterday amid tears and eulogies at the Ijaw National Heroes Park, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. His body was interred at exactly 3 p.m. with full military honours witnessed by Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Azubuike Ihejrika; Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice- Admiral Dele Ezeoba; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh; accompanied with the traditional 21-gun salute.

At the requiem mass held at the Isaac Boro Peace Park presided over by the Archbishop of Benin Archdiocese, Archbishop Augustine Akabueze, the Bishop of Bomadi Vicariate, Bishop Hyacinth Egbebo, who delivered the homily, while praying God to grant Azazi’s widow and children the fortitude to bear the great loss, described the death of the former NSA as a great loss, not only to the Ijaw nation, but the entire nation.

While also noting that Azazi’s death was devastating than the flood that swept through Ijaw communities recently and submerged many homes, he took a swipe at the military for compromising its tradition of excellence. The Bishop who queried the airworthiness of aircraft in the nation’s airspace, also condemned the frequency with which aircraft fall off easily from the Nigerian Airspace, killing prominent people. He declared that if the military cannot guarantee the safety and protection of one of its own, then there is no hope they can protect any other Nigerian.

“Our aircraft are not airworthy enough to ensure we arrive safely at our destinations. This is the third air mishap in less than 12 months. Let’s not pretend we are in America or Europe. We need roads.

“Corruption is the only reason we would continue to have air mishaps. If the aircraft are certified to be airworthy, how come they keep falling over? If the military cannot guarantee the protection and safety of one of their own, how can they protect others? Before, it was the military Nigerians looked up to, but now they have compromised excellence, money has taken over.

“There is cause for us to worry,” Bishop Hyacinth Egbebo said. Turning to President Goodluck Jonathan, he appealed to the Federal Government to create more access roads to link the rural communities in the country as air travel is no longer safe for anyone. He said if there were good roads in the country, the likes of Azazi, who died in the ill-fated Navy helicopter crash at Okoroba, and indeed several other Nigerians, who have lost their lives in plane crashes, would not have died.

He said: “Mr. President, now that you are here, the East-West road must be completed. Many people have died on that road. Mr. President, please do something. Spare our lives.”