NGF Crisis: FG grounds aircraft flying Governor Oshiomhole to Awka

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency on Friday grounded a chartered helicopter conveying Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, from Benin, the state capital, to Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Critics of the federal government see the development as a continuation of the onslaught against state governors who opposed President Goodluck Jonathan’s  anointed candidate for the chairmanship of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the OAS Helicopter, which was flying Mr. Oshiomhole from Benin City to Awka for the funeral of late Colette Obi, wife of Ben Obi, a presidential adviser on political matters, was already airborne before authorities recalled it.

“I was surprised that I was recalled after taking off from Government House (in Benin City) because I had communicated with the control tower on radio,” explains Captain James Manahash, the Filipino pilot of the helicopter. “We were already airborne when we got the call to return to the airport and we were even threatened that failure to do so would lead to complete grounding of the aircraft.”

He continued, “The governor prevailed on me to return and listen to them. When we got back to the airport, I was told to pay landing and aerodrome fees which, ordinarily, we could pay later because we were already airborne. Even after completion of the process of payment within 10 minutes, we were still delayed for one hour fifteen minutes. The governor left in anger after that.

“I am surprised by this development because this is not the first time I would be coming to Benin to fly the governor. I was even threatened, after payment, that the aircraft would be grounded completely if I argued with them. I have flown for 35 years, seven of which I spent in Nigeria and this is the first time I am encountering a situation like this. I do not know what problem they have with the governor.”

Contacted on the matter, the Managing Director of OAS Helicopters, Everest Nnaji, said, “I am still making calls to find out exactly why they did not allow the pilot fly the helicopter conveying the governor to Anambra State. I am really angry. I don’t know why they did that and that is why I am still trying to make contact because we have no problems with NAMA.”

The Acting Manager of NAMA in Benin, a Mr. Okolie, wouldn’t comment on why his agency treated the governor that way. He simply said, “I don’t have anything for you.”

A visibly angry Mr. Oshiomhole wouldn’t also comment on the accident after he abandoned the journey and hurried into a waiting car which sped towards Iyamho, his hometown.

But the governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Kassim Afegbua, who reacted to the incident, said, “I think the government of the day is competing with too many crisis and it is disturbing that governors are no longer respected or recognized even in their own domain when it is known that they were duly elected by the people.

“How else do you explain the role of a NAMA clerk who grounded the governor’s aircraft and prevented him from keeping his appointment in Anambra State because he is acting out a script that has become the rule of engagement by a dictatorial PDP regime? We remain unprovoked because we are a civilized people.”

Mr. Oshiomhole played a lead role in the defeat of Governor Jonah Jang, the presidency’s anointed candidate in the recent chairmanship election of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

Already, the winner of that election, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, has been suspended from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party for daring to present himself for the election despite the opposition from his party.

The aircraft owned by Mr. Amaechi’s state has also been grounded by Nigerian aviation authorities.

Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto, suspected to have voted for Mr. Amaechi, has also been suspended from the party.





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  • Paul

    Shea na like this we go de dey?na like this we go de dey?**singing**

  • Adoki

    Maybe these governors should just stay back in their states and attend to matters that their people voted them for. All this perambulating all over the place for the flimsiest reasons is really making me sick.

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    no one is above the law, please pay your landing charge like every one else. what is wrong with that? Governors aren’t the only one using private charters. Hundreds of Nigerians are paying daily. How could a governor who claims to be a ‘comrade’ wants to be treated differently? where is the socialist values in that?
    As usual, Premium Times have already sought to politicise this without any bit of common sense.
    1. The story is just breaking, so when did critics make the allegation they are reporting? who are those critics?
    2. Oshiomohole is a guest of Jonathan’s aide in Anambra state. So why is this been partisanised by Premium Times.
    This is junk journalism.


      Certificate forging governor of Edo state should not tie his refusal to pay ordinary landing fees at the airport to the president and the crisis created by turn-coats such as Amaechi in the governors forum. This is cheap blackmail. Too dirty for our taste-How can an aircraft which was chattered by Adams-be grounded by Jonathan because Adams voted for Amaechi? Why should Adams make such frivolous allegation against the president? The chopper is not even owned by the Edo state government- What type of country are these road side politicians who claim to be socialist at night, yearn to build for the nation? Its an insult to the sensibilities of Nigerians-for a governor who refused to pay landing fees at the airport, attempt to hood wink Nigerians into believing that he is being victimized or hunted by aso rock, simply because he voted for Amaechi-if that is not madness then tell me what it is-Nonsese! The ranting by Adams is uncalled for-Nigeria Airways died because its stations Managers often refused to settle landing fees of the airline abroad-Algerian authorities even banned the airline from its air space-cause of that-As for Amaechi, he should go fix the Port Harcourt International airport Omagwa- its a disgrace to the nation-an eye sore to the aviation industry-Again the watery comments credited to the so called media agent chief Afegbua-does not make sense one little bit-The issue has nothing to do with PDP-its about the refusal of your boss to obey simple laws of the land-laws are created to protect society cause we are no angels–Again we all know Jona Jang was nominated by Governor Aliyu on behalf of the NSGF and not the president-so Jonathan has nothing to do with the current wahala of Amaechi-let us n

      • Jackson

        Are you sure of all the information you just publicized?

    • John

      You don’t have knowledge of aviation industry. Landing fees could be paid weeks after aircraft has operated. It is even not the responsibility of passage by that of the company that owes the aircraft. You might have to go to airline to educate yourself very well. Thank you

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    President Ebele Jonathan is very despodent psychologically,uncivil,low esteem,mean-spirited and ineffective president who lacked people-oriented program and policies.Or else what is the misuse of his presidential power and influence in constantly banning Rivers State governor Amaechi and now Edo State governor Adam Oshiomole state aircraft got to do with transformation of derelict
    public infrastructures and death trap roads nationwide?President Jonathan is acting beneath the honour associated with that office.

  • Adoki

    Selective justice? Perhaps it is the only way Nigeria can be cleaned up, since our big men are above the law and it is apparent that Nigerians lack the courage to enforce accountability. Let those in power today select their ‘enemies’, and then the next set of rulers select their own enemies, and in the long run….

  • ette

    it is really wicked to bring down an aircraft after it had been cleared to take off. This is the height of irresponsibility and disservice to this nation. can someone tell me how an aircraft had been cleared to fly if it had any issue to sort out; and why it was not allowed to continue and settle whatever was outstanding when it got to its destination. This is mad people dancing in the open and endangering the lives of Nigerians in the name of stupid politics. Is this how to play politics. Are the people involved in this wicked display of power normal humqn beings? Pity we have agberos manning such sensitive agencies in charge of aviation.

  • we nogo die

    In the aviation industry worldwide, registered and regular airlines dont pay charges before they fly. Such charges are paid within 30 or 60 days after operations to the various agencies.
    Secondly, its NAMA that cleared this aircraft to take off. What happened when its staff cleared the aircraft to take off. Probably, at that time they dis not know the big passenger inside at the top. So therefore, on realising that it was Osho that chartered the aircraft, it became imperetive to recall it. NAMA has no excuse for this. Aviation industry dont operate like a motor park thing.