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Sunday, 16 August 2015

Helicopter Crash: How NEMA, Police Cornered $650 Meant for Local Divers’ Service Fee

This is one report i hope the authorities concerned wont sweep under the carpet, it must be investigated to see if there is any substance to the allegations by the local divers.
According to platforms Africa...

Officials of Nigeria’s emergency agency, National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) and the Police have been accused of cornering N130, 000 ($650) service charge for local divers who rescued the passengers of the ill-fated Bristow helicopter, which crashed in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
Local fishermen and divers had on Wednesday, August 12, recovered the bodies of Joseph Wyatt, the captain of the Bristow helicopter and his Nigerian copilot, Peter Bello. Few hours after this they also recovered the two Black Boxes of the aircraft.
This came as the six survivors in the helicopter crash were evacuated from the Mainland General Hospital, Gbagada area of Lagos to an undisclosed hospital.
The local divers who staged a protest after they have been engaged by NEMA, kicked against the money given to them by officials of the agency at the scene of the crash.
They said NEMA promised them N250,000 while it gave them N100,000 after accomplishing the task of retrieving the bodies about 10am. More annoying, however, was the allegation by the divers that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Oworoshoki Police Station, diverted N30,000 out of the N100,000. One of the divers, Bernard Denakpo, said: “It took 13 of us almost two hours to locate and retrieve the two bodies. One was a white man, the other, a Nigerian. They were both trapped inside the helicopter cockpit. We used machete to cut through the wreckage of the helicopter, before we were able to drag them out.
It was also clear that his two hands were fractured. “The Nigerian’s spinal cord was broken. When we dived into the water, we tied his body to one of our colleagues and dragged both of them out.” On Wednesday, a Bristow Helicopter, said to be coming from Estravos in the Niger Delta, around 4pm, plunged into the lagoon. The helicopter had 12 passengers on board, including the Captain, Joseph Wyatt, and co-pilot, Peter Bello. Six of the passengers were rescued by the fishermen, while six died. The scene yesterday was still busy until the bodies were recovered. Soon after that, temper rose as the divers protested the amount of money given to them by NEMA official from Abuja.
They rejected the offer until other NEMA officials persuaded them. Their anger was rekindled after the DPO allegedly deducted N30,000 and gave them N70,000. The policeman allegedly said that the money was for his effort in inviting the divers to partake in the rescue operation. Mr Olalekan Oredugba, one of the divers, said: “We’re not happy with the money they gave us.
Before we started the rescue operation on Wednesday evening, a top official of NEMA, who approached us, promised that we would be given N250,000. “How will 13 of us share the money? The person the DPO sent to call us to join in the rescue operation said we should give some money to the DPO. You can’t imagine what we went through inside the sea while searching for survivors and the dead.” Another diver, Bevenia Agosso, said: “We were on the lagoon, hunting for fish when we saw the helicopter hovering in the sky.
Initially, we were scared because we didn’t want it to fall on us. Immediately the helicopter crashed into the lagoon, those of us who were there dived into the lagoon. Our aim was to rescue some of the victims. We were able to rescue two people alive, before one of us called the attention of the police to the incident.”
However, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Patricia Amadin, denied the allegation that the DPO deducted N30, 000 from the money given to the divers. She said: “There was nothing like that. NEMA cannot pay the police for doing their job. How will it be possible for the DPO to ask the divers to bring the money and he would then deduct from it?” Meanwhile, the state government has directed pathologists to immediately commence autopsy on the bodies of the victims.

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