Gist: Jonathan bans Amaechi’s plane from flying in Nigeria  (Read 1587 times)

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Jonathan bans Amaechi’s plane from flying in Nigeria
by cappy « on: April 28, 2013, 09:01:19 AM »




The Federal Government has banned the official plane of
Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, for “operating
illegally in the country.”
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency had on
Friday temporarily grounded the Bombardier – BD700
Global Express aircraft in Akure, Ondo State, over the
pilot’s alleged inability to provide the manifest of the
plane.
However, the aviation industry regulator, Nigeria Civil
Aviation Authority, on Saturday, announced that the
aircraft had been banned from flying in Nigeria.
The Director of Airworthiness and Standards, NCAA, Mr.
Benedict Adeyileka, alleged that the aircraft had been
flying illegally to several places, including Owerri in Imo
State and Akure.
The statement read in part, “The controversial aircraft
on the service of Governor Rotimi Amaechi is operating
illegally in the country. The clearance approval of the
Bombardier BD700 Global Express, with registration
number N565RS, expired since April 2, 2013.
“By our records, the last flight clearance for this aircraft
was approved for operations on March 28, 2013 on
Accra/Port Harcourt and Accra to terminate on April 2,
2013. With this development, the aircraft has exceeded
the extra two days or 48 hours leeway for it to leave the
country.
“Consequently, this aircraft in reference is hereby
grounded at any airport that is located right now in the
country.
“The owner of this aircraft, according to the certificate of
registration, is Bank of Utah Trustees of Salt Lake City
Utah United States of America.”
Amaechi, in company with the Speaker, House of
Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, was stranded for two
hours at Akure Airport, as NAMA prevented his jet from
flying on Friday.
Amaechi was departing Ado-Ekiti after attending the
burial of Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmi
Olayinka, when the incident occurred.
It was learnt that it took the intervention of Tambuwal
before the aircraft was allowed to take off.
NAMA’s spokesperson, Mr. Supo Atobatele, who
confirmed the development on Friday, had said the plane
was not cleared to take off initially because the pilot
failed to observe certain mandatory requirements.
Following the grounding of the plane, the Rivers State
Government on Saturday, described the defence of the
aviation authorities as a ‘big lie.’
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. David
Iyofor, said contrary to NAMA’s claims on Friday, the
pilot of the plane had filed his flight plan and declared his
manifest, but was told to see the controller.
The controller, according to Iyofor, told the pilot that the
state government’s plane would not be allowed to leave
the airport.
“It is indeed most shameful and ludicrous that NAMA and
the aviation authorities are now saying that they
grounded the Rivers State government’s plane because
the pilot did not file a flight plan and declare a manifest.
“That’s a blatant lie. The pilot filed the flight plan and
manifest, and paid all the statutory airport fees and
charges shortly after the plane arrived at the Akure
Airport in the afternoon.
“If the pilot filed a flight plan and manifest at the airports
in Abuja and Owerri, where he flew from same day, why
won’t he then do the same in Akure?
“It is instructive to note that all through the traumatic
time we spent in Akure, no official of the airport or
aviation staff came to tell Governor Amaechi that we
were grounded because our pilot refused to file a flight
plan and manifest.
“All they kept saying was that they were just obeying
directives; it was beyond them and we should call Abuja.
The Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, and the other four
members of the House of Representatives are living
witnesses to that charade,” Iyofor said.
He asked NAMA to explain to Nigerians why an aircraft
belonging to a state government and conveying a
governor and other elected officials would be grounded
at an airport for no just course.
When asked whether the grounding of the aircraft had
anything to do with the rift between Amaechi and the
Presidency, Iyofor declined comments.
He said the state government was still weighing the
incident and would soon decide whether or not to
petition the appropriate authorities on the matter.
“What we did is to tell Nigerians what happened. That is
why we came out with a statement. I am not
commenting on anything political.
“We have to digest what happened first before we can
decide on whether it is necessary to write officially to
relevant authorities on our experience in Akure,” Iyofor
stressed.


 

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