Rare colour picture of Colonel Shittu Alao (on the left) who died on October 15, 1969, in an air crash at Uzebba, about 50 miles northwest of Benin. Alao had been Chief of the Air Staff of Nigeria’s air force and the second indegene to hold the office.
Alongside Alao are Major General Yakubu Gowon, the Head of State (centre) and Colonel Udoakaha Esuene, the military governor of the South-Eastern State. They were inspecting a five-seater Bristol Westland helicopter seized from Biafran forces by Federal troops during fighting in the ongoing Nigerian Civil War.
The son of a father from Nigeria’s Western Region and a mother who hailed from the North, Alao was of striking appearance, being of great height (perhaps 6ft 5) and build. He also had facial scarification marks (“Gombe”/”Keke”), which reflected his Ogbomosho origins.
He was born in 1937.
Credit: Captured from a Reuters newsreel in February 1968.
Maj. Gen. Gowon Takes A Ride in A Helicopter Seized From Biafran Forces | February 1968 [https://youtu.be/XskRYjyoKM0](https://youtu.be/XskRYjyoKM0?fbclid=IwAR0Ml6PmGkSLbU5znsACTO3VZhPTHJg34Rak2YdgZFz0HziajlZgNZqBoYg)
Funeral of Nigerian Air Chief (Associated Press Newsreel)