Helicopter carrying "high ranking" Nigerian officials crashes

A helicopter carrying Nigerian officials has crashed in the country's southern delta.

Yushau Shuaibu, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency, told the Associated Press that the helicopter crashed Saturday in Bayelsa state in the Niger Delta.

Shuaibu said the helicopter was carrying "high-ranking government officials" but did not give a list of names of those on board. 

Reuters is reporting that the governor of central Nigeria's Kaduna State was killed in the crash. 

The Guardian Nigeria names the governor as Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and said that several of his aides were contacting Bayelsa State officials, where the crash occurred shortly after 4:30pm local time. 

Mallam Shehu Sani, the leader of the Civil Society Coalition in the North, told the Guardian Nigeria that Yakowa was “a patriot, a man of peace and a symbol of Unity”.

“He is one of the best Governors in the history of Nigeria. Patrick Yakowa is a towering figure and a colossus in the search for National unity. Patrick Yakowa is one of Nigeria's greats. He is an unusual politician. My sympathy and condolence to his family and the entire people of kaduna state. We have lost a giant dove and a towering olive," Sani said. 

According to the BBC, the helicopter belonged to the Nigerian navy and had been taking officials to Port Harcourt in the southern part of the country.