We did not ground Oshiomhole’s helicopter- Nigeria Aviation authorities

OAS took delivery of the helicopter in January

The aviation ministry said it only asked the pilot to do the needful.

The Nigeria Aviation Ministry said on Friday that the helicopter conveying the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, was not grounded, but only asked to obey extant rules.

The Coordinating Manager, Information and Communications for Aviation Parastatals, Yakubu Datti, said the aircraft was only called back to fill its manifest and make some payments which the pilot had failed to do.

“The helicopter picked the governor from government house in Benin. By procedure, the pilot was supposed to file manifest and all other procedures, but because these were not done before takeoff, NAMA (Nigeria Airspace Management Agency) called them down to do all those things.

“Of course you cannot just pick someone up and fly over the airport just like that,” Mr. Datti said

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how Mr. Oshiomhole’s trip was cut short after the pilot of the chartered aircraft was ordered to return to Benin airport when he was already airborne for Awka. The Edo State Governor was travelling to Anambra for the funeral of late Colette Obi, wife of Ben Obi, a presidential adviser on political matters

He angry left the aircraft and returned to his state after it was not cleared over an hour after the pilot, James Manahash, made necessary payments.

The bemused Filipino pilot of the helicopter, owned by OAS helicopters, later expressed his shock at the incident to journalists.

“I have been a pilot for 35 years out of which 7 years in Nigeria. So I was surprised when I was recalled back to the airport after we took off. The Governor prevailed on me to come back and answer them. When we got back I was told to pay landing and aerodrome fee which ordinarily we could pay later.

“Even after completion of the process of payment, we were still delayed for one hour, fifteen minutes with the governor still seated in the aircraft. Ordinarily payment of such fees doesn’t take more than ten minutes. This is not the first time I have been flying the governor and we have never witnessed such a disappointment. It is really shocking,” Mr. Manahash stated.

The aviation ministry spokesperson, however, explained that the pilot was only invited to fill his manifest and make necessary payments.

“The governor came down got angry while all this was happening, said they were wasting his time and walked out, the helicopter was not grounded at all,” Mr. Datti said.

Mr. Datti said most of the pilots flying Very Important Personalities (VIPs) tend to break the ministry’s rules. He said pilots should, for their safety and to avoid time wasting by any of the aviation parastatals, drop the VIP mentality, settle necessary bills, and follow procedures which normally don’t take so much time.

Mr. Oshiomhole’s spokesperson, Kassim Afegbua, reacted to the development saying the aviation agency was acting a script of the Peoples Democratic Party.

“I think the government of the day is competing with too many crises 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,” he said.

“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 civilized people.”

Mr. Oshiomhole, a member of the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria, has been having a war of words with the PDP who accused him of begging to join the ruling party on different occasions. He is also among the governors that supported Rotimi Amaechi to emerge chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum against the wishes of the PDP.


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  • Rational

    Change is always unpalatable.

    • Concern

      I agreed with you…..but when a change becomes a tool of witch hunting..same manifest excuse with Amaechi. We are going somewhere!

      • blogNaija

        fake excuses everywhere! womanifest/manifest all is sham.

  • Adoki

    It is great that aviation officials are trying to enforce regulations irrespective of whoever is involved. But then, it speaks more of the existing ineptitude of these officials than their desire to do the right thing. How on earth do you allow an aircraft, which had not observed the necessary pre-flight procedures to take off? Most times when these VIPs pass through our airports, the airport workers are too interested in the usual ‘PR’ that the protocol officers of these governors dispense to pay attention to necessary safety and operational procedures.
    This habitual negligence is becoming so routine, and I am surprised that the president has not found it necessary to wield the big stick. First, you don’t do your job, allow the aircraft to be airborne, then ask the pilot to return to the point of departure? I think it is becoming a monumental embarrassment to the entire people of this country.
    If the president fails to show some responsibility here, then it means he is encouraging ineptitude and dereliction of duties in the aviation sector.

  • tolu

    oshiomole should thank his creator . Gen Azazi was not lucky before he was killed

  • wax

    @PM should please get the complete story b4 reporting… the philipino pilot should hav followed due process to avoid αℓℓ dese stories. In developed countries, dis is good reason to ground d plane. Nw evry1 is calling PDP nd GEJ without finkin straight. Let’s not give the ‘enemy’ any room to attack in our dealings. His expirience should have taught him that payments should be made b4 takeoff buh he didn’t cos he is in Nigeria wia anything works nd PM is politicising the story. Can he do that in his country?

    • we nogo die

      You simply dont know how airline business is done worldwide. As long as the aircraft is a regular and registered aircraft in

  • azex

    Kassim Afegbua should know that the agency is only trying to do their job. He should stop blaming oposition. The filipino pilot knows that this fast move cannot be tolerated in their country. U can’t fly without doing d needful even if u ar a VIP or ordinary. We should try and accept change time…….

  • yemi ikumawoyi

    There was a speculations that Tony Anene in conjunction with some PDP stalwart in the presidency were trying to sabotage safety by planting bomb on the helicopter so as to cause explosion in the mid-air.
    Adam smelled foul play after being delayed for more than 1 hour.
    He decided to cancel the journey.

    More details later during the week