“It’s not my time to die,” exhausted Police Minister Serge Gelle said as he recovered on a stretcher.
Two other security officials travelling with him in the helicopter also survived the crash.
The team had been scouting an area in the north-eastern part of the country where a passenger boat had sunk.
At least 39 people died in that accident, officials said on Tuesday.
On Twitter President Andry Rajoelina mourned those who died and also paid tribute to Mr Gelle and the other two officers, who arrived in the seaside town of Mahambo separately.
It’s unclear why Monday’s accident happened but Mr Gelle, 57, said after the crash he swam from “7:30 last night, until 7:30 this morning,” to Mahambo.
He said he had no injuries but added that he was feeling cold.
“I would just like you to broadcast this video for my family to see, my colleagues to see, the government members to see. [I am] alive and well,” Mr Gelle told villagers at Mahambo.
Police chief Zafisambatra Ravoavy told news agency AFP that Mr Gelle had used one of the helicopter’s seats as a flotation device.
“He has always had great stamina in sport, and he’s kept up this rhythm as minister, just like a 30-year-old… he has nerves of steel,” Mr Ravoavy said.
Mr Gelle had served in the police for three decades before his August appointment as minister.
Police Kill Suspected IPOB/ESN Member In Imo, Recover Weapons
In a statement on Saturday, the command’s spokesman, CSP Michael Abattam, explained that the hoodlums, on sighting the police operatives, opened fire on them. One of the hoodlums was neutralized while others scampered into the adjoining bushes fatally injured with gunshot injuries.
The release said, “the proscribed IPOB/ ESN terror group, its militia wing has made a forest at Onicha in Ezinihitte Mbaise LGA of Imo State, their operational base where they go out to perpetrate heinous crimes which include terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery and killing of innocent citizens
“Based on this information, the ever combat-ready Imo Command’s tactical teams, having carried diligent surveillance of the criminal hideouts, on 18/1/2022 at about 1300 hours, stormed the deadly terror camp.”
Items recovered from them on combing the bush and searching the terror camp includes one AK-47 rifle with 40 rounds of live ammunition, 10 locally-fabricated explosives devices, one police hand grenade, two Toyota Highlander SUVs without registration numbers.
Others include one Lexus RX350 SUV without registration number, one Lexus RX330 SUV without registration number, two Biafran flags, different assorted charms, assorted dresses suspected to belong to kidnapped/robbed victims.
The command appealed to the people of the state not to allow criminals to use their community as a safe haven to perpetrate heinous crimes.
It urged them to form vigilante groups/neighbourhood watch associations to complement the efforts of the police and other security agencies, adding that they should report any suspicious persons seen with bullet wounds to the nearest police station or call the command’s emergency numbers 08034773600 or 08098880197
Commending the officers and men for their dedication and gallantry, the Commissioner of Police Imo State, CP Rabiu Hussaini, thanked Imolites for their unalloyed support and assured them of the command’s commitment to ensuring a crime-free state.
Fire Razes Nasarawa Motor Park
According to the NaijaOnPoint Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the fire started on Friday night and lasted till the early hours of Saturday.
It took the personnel of the fire service in the state several hours to put out the fire.
Speaking on the incident, the State Coordinator of the fire service, Mrs Hanatu George, said they got a distress call on Friday night and responded immediately.
George, however, said that although no life was lost, an investigation has begun to ascertain the cause of the fire.
One of the victims of the fire disaster, Ejike Igwe, a car spare parts seller, said his entire shop was razed by the inferno.
Igwe, who said he could not quantify his goods lost to the fire disaster, appealed for assistance from spirited Nigerians.