The wife of a Nigerian Air Force pilot, Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob, who died alongside his colleagues of January 2, 2019, has said that she learnt about her husband’s death on WhatsApp.
The Air Force pilot died with 4 others on board following the crash of Mi-35M combat helicopter they used in providing air support to troops of the 145 Battalion fighting the Boko Haram insurgents in Damasak, Borno State.
He died alongside his colleagues; Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Kilyofas (co-pilot); Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim (flight technician); Lance Corporal Adamu Nura (gunner); and Aircraft Man Meshack Ishmael (gunner).
The couple wedded on December 8, 2018, just three weeks before the ugly unfortunate incident.
According to Flt. Lt. Jacob’s widow, Diepreye, who spoke with Punch, she got to know of her husband’s death on the WhatsApp status of his colleague.
“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.”
“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.”