Mrs Josephine Piyo, the mother of Flight Lieutenant Henry Piyo, one of the seven Personnel that died in the ill- fated Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft King Air B350i aircraft in Abuja on Sunday, February 21, 2021 in this exclusive interview with Olayemi Esan, speaks about her son’s transformation immediately he enrolled in NDA and his journey into the air force.
What is Flight Lieutenant Henry Piyo position among your children and how can you describe him?
My late son is the last born of the family. My kids are six in number, he is the last of them. Incidentally, being the last born, he is the Pastor of the House. My son was the Pastor of the family. My son really was committed to serving God. He ordered for spiritual books, frequently purchasing spiritual driven books and he distributed to all his siblings, he gave daddy and myself one. If you ask his colleagues, I know he extends such gesture to them too. He gave books to all his colleagues especially his coursemates. He was dedicated to working for God and humanity. He was able to touch lives in the missions and there were testimonies from so many men of God. Our Reverend came to tell us that, a week ago before his death, he sent in some money for the donations for the Church project and they were communicating. There was his childhood friend who became a minister of God, he has contributed to his church projects. There were so many testimonies. A woman in the military called me and said, a week ago, he was in their house and he was there till 10pm, they were chatting about the word of God. The woman told me my son normally fast every week. In fact somebody told me that I don't even know the son I had, they said he was even better than myself. He is more of a Pastor and evangelist than a military man because he was so humble, godly and caring. Honestly, that was what my son was, he doesn't have all these military ruggedness.
What was Henry’s growing up like?
He was a lively boy, very lively. He had little childish character with his elder brother but he was lively person, his academics were smooth, he never had any delay in his academics. He got admission into the university before the NDA offer came. This was immediately after he finished his secondary education. He paid his acceptance fees for his degree programme but he had to abandon it to go to NDA. During his childhood, he was a bit temperamental, hot tempered, but when he went to NDA, that disappeared in him. He met Christ during the NDA programme. The early part of NDA were rugged, at a certain stage, he met with Christ and Christ reformed him completely.
How many Boys do you have?
I have three. Three girls, three boys.
When Henry decided to join the Nigerian Air Force, did he inform you about it?
Yes, he did. The two of them. I mean his elder brother and Henry wrote NDA twice and the last time they wrote together, they all passed the exam together. They went for the screening and interview but they dropped the elder brother but he was able to scale through. And at that time, the Force was a bit admirable not like now that people are scared to join. If I knew it will be like what it is now, I wont have let him go.
Are you proud having a Son in Nigerian Air Force?
I felt good and proud. I honour God for it and I was happy but now all my happiness has turned into darkness. There was darkness over us (Deep Silent)
No Darkness ma. He met with Christ before he died. There is light. He is in a better place.
(Cut in) Madam, but you know it is not easy. My last born. A boy that is yet to even marry, but I give God the glory. What can I say?
What do you think about Henry's death?
I wont question anybody, God knows best. That's all I can say. I leave everything into the hands of God. He is the ultimate.
What were his unfulfilled dreams?
Well, he told his most senior brother that he had great plans for them but he didn't disclosed those great plans and dreams, so, we can not say this is it but he was such a loving and caring son
When was the last time you spoke to him on phone or saw him?
I think a week before his death. He called to ask me if I have read the book he sent to me. And I told him that, Daddy was still reading it that I saw him in November when he went for his colleagues wedding in Langtang North. He was the bestman.
Do you have any thing to say to the Nigerian Air Force, Armed Forces of Nigeria and Federal Government?
The security challenges is not encouraging at all. We are praying that this security condition in Nigeria will improve greatly. We are praying for peace to return to Nigeria. That is my prayer.