Nigeria counters France, says not in hurry to release seized Chad-bound Russian plane

Grounded Chad-bound plane.... Photo Credit: Madquest ‏@Mansur295 via twitter

The Nigerian government says it is not a hurry to release the Chad-bound Russian aircraft arrested in Nigeria despite France admitting that it owns the military hardware aboard the plane.

PR Nigeria, an agency that circulates press statements for Nigerian security agencies, quoted an unnamed top security official as telling it “Nigeria has no reason to release the aircraft and its cargo until investigation is concluded”.

“In view of the evidence of active collaboration with Boko Haram terrorists by some French speaking neighbouring countries, it has become pertinent for Nigeria to be conscious and be more careful in these matters,” PR Nigeria further quoted the official as saying.

The agency said while Nigerian officials have agreed to release crew members of the aircraft to the Russian Embassy in Abuja, the plane would remain detained because “the explanations so far given by the French Embassy concerning the source and destination of the cargo were less than convincing”.

France had said the plane was conveying equipment, owned by its peacekeeping force, from Bangui (Central African Republic) to Ndjamena (Chad), and had diplomatic cover to make a stop-over in Nigeria.

The aircraft won’t be released “until all investigations are concluded”, the report said.

Nigeria’s reported refusal to release the plane is contrary to the claims by the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, that Nigerian authorities had agreed to let the aircraft go.

“Due to the nationality of the aircraft, and the nature of the cargo, local airport Nigerian authorities in Kano have decided to check the flight plan, the clearance and the cargo manifest before authorizing the plane to leave,” the ambassador said in statement through which he admitted his country’s ownership of the cargo aboard the aircraft.

“Official information has been supplied by the French Embassy in Nigeria. The Nigerian federal and airport authorities, being satisfied with the documents and the genuine character of the flight, have announced that the plane will be authorized to pursue its flight to Ndjamena.”

Russia had initially said through its embassy in Nigeria on Saturday night that the plane wasn’t Russian and that it had no link with that country.

But in another statement on Sunday afternoon, the embassy said the plane is indeed a Russian one hired by the French government to convey military hardware for its peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic.

The Nigerian government is yet to provide any update on the plane since Saturday when the military issued a two-paragraph statement announcing the arrest of the plane.

Security operatives at the Kano Airport had seized the plane when it landed at the facility at about 2a.m. Saturday due to technical problems.

Crew members of the airplane were immediately detained while investigations continued, officials said.

Security was then beefed up at the airport in order to ensure proper investigation,” an official at the airport said.

This is the third time since 2009 that planes loaded with arms would be arrested in Kano, our correspondent says.

The detained planes were later released after investigations.

The destination of the latest aircraft has however raised concerns amid increasing worries in Nigeria over Chad’s alleged role in the Boko Haram insurgency plaguing Nigeria’s northeast.

Airport officials in Kano told PREMIUM TIMES a former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, visited and inspected the plane late Saturday night.

The former governor – an ally of both the Chadian and Nigerian presidents – is believed to be lobbying for the release of the plane.


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  • Babandum

    You see! That is how they will confuse us all with all kinds of information until we get tired and go out looking for daily bread, then they will release the plane and its dangerous cargo.

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      If the cargo is legitimately owned by France and if the Nigerian authorities determine from their investigation that the movement was legitimate,there will be no legal ground on which the plane,its content or crew may be detained or with-held. Further action may expose Nigeria to accusations of Piracy,international law is explicit on issues of this sort !

      • Babandum

        Yes I agree. But that is why a thorough investigation is required and that takes time. You have to verify the legitimacy of documents. Imagine if that plane were to land in Israel, India, Saudi Arabia, the US or even South Africa; imagine the quantum of investigation that will be done! I only hope our Nigerian bureaucrats will do the necessary and not the usual “Palm Greasing”

      • Titi

        U re the only moron on this page, just give up

    • Jika

      I agree with your assertion.However,they plan and,God plans.Be rest assured that God is the best planner of all.

  • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

    Thank you, Mr. President.

    Please do not let the cargo leave Nigeria, whatever you do.

    • Gideon Orkar

      Kay somebody don hack your account and they are using it to thank GEJ!

      • MrFesh+Ifebuche+Paschal

        lwkm. I’m sure you know he can’t level headedly thank the president.
        How hypocritical.

        • Otile

          So you don’t believe in death-bed conversion, and repentance.

          • Alcindo Satori

            hahahahaha!!! Abeg my people, cut him (Kay Soyemi) a slack. At least we can agree to disagree on issues…that’s the beauty of democracy — as long as we’re level headed about it, that is.

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        lol, Gideon.

        Just hope I don’t get to curse him because I will if he lets the cargo!

        For the moment, he is acting in the interest of Nigeria, and that is one of my big “turn-ons”.

        Let us hope he keeps it that way.

        • Gideon Orkar

          Too late the plane has been released! Oya back to business for you!

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            What else do you expect from a man tied to his wife’s apron string?

    • Chris1408

      My brother na lie, plane and cargo will soon disappear to Chad. I told you previously how this drama will end. As usual, the story will soon disappear from news media.

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        Bruv, let us hope not.

        I am truly hoping GEJ would stand up to be counted on this score.

        These are weapons we need to combat boko haram and if no one is letting us buy, then seize, he should.

        • Chris1408

          The plane is in Chad already. GEJ is a disgrace

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            Speechless, bruv.

    • Alcindo Satori

      Mr. Soyemi, I must confess that I’m surprised finding your posting (thanking Mr. President). That’s truly random!

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        Alcindo Satori, sadly Jonothing has done the usual; turned gold into dust.

        Just learnt from Gideon and Chris1408 that he has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against.

        This is what we get for voting a shoeless man into power.

        The last time I thanked him was when he quickly got Oguche (the Nyanya bomber) back from Sudan, but what has he done with the man?

        A waste of space in Aso Rock

  • growthengine

    Are there flight plans and clearance documents issued by the Nigerian Govt, if there are, then they must be respected. If the do not exist, then the matter is left to debate.

  • T

    Chad is clearly an accomplice in our woes, they are either taking advantage of the weak man on the throne or else he is an ally

    • umolu

      There is no throne; there is the presidency.

  • MrFesh+Ifebuche+Paschal

    Did France say before that Nigeria was in a hurry to release the plane to them? What’s the ‘counter’ for?
    Our media houses cause more discord than politicians it would seem. More so because most ordinary folks believe whatever they read up.

  • Chris1408

    The story has changed from AK-47, ammunition and bullet proof vests to helicopters and spare parts. So the security personnel at the airport that first reported the story couldn’t differentiate between rifles and helicopters. Nigeria my country. The plane and cargo will soon disappear.

    • blueeyedkitten

      OPEN SESAME!

  • Idris

    Invite the useless Modu Sheriff to explain the purpose of his role in releasing the Plane

  • Guguru

    Nigeria is playing a dangerous game with France and Russia. France refused to hand over a Misral class ship to Russia and Russia is now using Nigeria to hold a French cargo. Nigeria s increasingly in the line of fire and at some point, the US government will take action against the Jonathan administration. Many Nigerians will suffer as a result of this.

    • _Proudly Niger Deltan

      If you don’t know what to write, why don’t you log out of that cyber café and let another reasonable and sane customer use the system?…“Nigerians will suffer as a result of this…” Nonsense! Now tell me, of what economic importance is Russia, France and US to Nigeria? Lets take them one by one.

      FRANCE
      =======
      There is no economic importance at all. If Nigeria sends French ambassador back to France today, it is France that will lose in billions of Dollars and not Nigeria. There is no Nigerian company in France. On the contrary French companies are making huge profits in Nigeria…Examples are PAN, Slumberger, Oil companies etc,… and all these companies can be replaced by Nigerian indigenous companies…and the Ijaw scientists and engineers will have no problem refining our oil using environmentally friendly processes.

      RUSSIA
      ======
      Same as above. There is nothing, I repeat, there is nothing a Russian or French is doing in Nigeria today that you will not find another Nigerian somewhere around the globe who would be capable of doing even better. All we need to do is “attract” these people.

      US
      ===
      In fact, it is a minus doing business with US. They will always use ‘ojoro’ to steal from you while they pretend to be helping you. US rakes in Billions of Dollars from its oil companies in Nigeria, and just in case you don’t know, Nigeria has been the country with the highest wheat import from US with annual imports going up to $10B per yr. But tell me, what is Nigeria really gaining from US? They don’t give Nigeria food, they don’t give us water, they don’t give us anything. We pay for everything we get from America. I mean EVERYTHING. So, is America is sent packing today, Nigeria will always buy from another country. Pure & Simple.

      I don’t blame you. People like you are the type that will go to Church on Sunday and give testimony for obtaining a US, French or Russian visa…and you continue to shout, ‘Praise the Lord, the Lord has buttered my bread and answered my prayers, I have been given 3months visa to Ukraine’. Nonsense! Pls stop disgracing continent Nigerians. You here me so? Some of us know what we are worth…and if you worth nothing, then speak for yourself and not all Nigerians bcos the whole world is reading your miserable comment.

      • umolu

        You are very correct.

      • Guguru

        Proudly Niger Deltan,

        Have you been living in a cave lately? Are you writing these things while in hibernation? Are you okay today? My good friend, Nigeria sent about 1000 troops to Russia for counter-terrorism training. Nigeria bought Russian designed but Ukrainian built helicopters that they are using to fight their nemesis—BH. At least, one or two of those helicopters have been shot down already. Nigeria’s revenue is slowly dwindling in addition to the naira falling in value because the US simply stopped buying Nigeria’s oil. Total is a French company that explores for oil in Nigeria. It hires thousands of Nigerians.

        Your comments are unfortunate because it reflects a pattern of ignorance that could do more harm than good to Nigeria. If well meaning Nigerians should ignore the interconnected global economy which you seem to be disdainful about, then it is possible for more conflicts to emerge as a result of lack of communication between parties. You have no idea how much Nigeria, an import-oriented nation depends on other countries for much of what it uses to stay afloat as a nation. The Nigerian military at one point used a weapon called FN rifle as its main combat weapon. This is a French designed and built rifle. It is actually superior to the AK-47 Nigerian troops now use.

        So, if you do not have much to say, why don’t you stay silent? Why is it hard for you to zip your mouth and stay silent? Do you need help in staying silent? LOL!

        • Proudly Niger Deltan

          Shame no dey catch you sef? Just listen to urself…”Nigeria, an import-oriented nation depends on other countries for much
          of what it uses to stay afloat as a nation. The Nigerian military at one
          point used a weapon called FN rifle as its main combat weapon. This is a
          French designed and built rifle. It is actually superior to the AK-47
          Nigerian troops now use.”

          You say my comments are ignorant comments yet you cannot disprove any….a simple search on Google provides one with free evidence of my facts…but trepidation and inferiority complex no let you see road…

          So you are happy to be dependent of France for ordinary gun. I pity you…after 112yrs, you still import guns from France. Those who make the guns in France have 3 heads. No be so? …From your comments, it is seemingly futile to attempt to educate you, but I love to remind you that slaves who love their chains remain slaves forever. Enjoy your chains but I will break away and in my country we will manufacture every weaponry for combat and self defense.

          Show me one country on earth or outside the earth which depends on US or France and have peace and/or prosperity. Do you know any?…It is people like you that the US embassy will give 2am visa appointment, and you will run to give special thanksgiving. Educating you is useless.

          • Guguru

            Unproudly Niger Deltan,

            If you are making the claim, then produce your evidence. It is not my job to go looking for evidence of your questionable comments. I do not have to disprove any of your comments because they lack substance and facts. I clearly outlined how weak your key claims were.Western Europe depends on US markets for their growth. South Korea depends on US markets for their products. Most of all, you sound like someone who has been banned from ever visiting the US embassy in Nigeria. With the sort of comments coming from you, i can see why it is an imperative to ban you from coming to the embassy of a nation that does more for humanity than Nigeria will ever dream of doing.

          • Proudly Niger Deltan

            I can see how brainwashed you are…and without US’s “aid”, you will not survive…bcos all countries in the world depend on US…Shame on you. Why didn’t you mention Russia and China as dependents too? Clearly you are irredeemable.

          • Guguru

            Unproudly Nigerian,

            The US hands Nigeria about $400 million in aids every year. I have not heard of Nigeria rejecting the aid, have we? The US single-handedly helped Nigeria from escaping near annihilation from HIV/AIDS. You probably drink Coke products everyday and yet fail to realize that it is a US company. I am sure you are also hypocritically compelled to use an iphone which also happens to be a US product.

            Russia is currently facing sanctions imposed on it by the US because it is a regional power and not a super power. China depends heavily on the US to keep buying goods it manufactures. If the US stops buying Chinese goods, China is toast in the same way Nigeria became toast once the US stopped buying Nigeria’s crude oil. Can you not see that you know little about the world? Deliberately knowing little about the world is an extension of ignorance. Someone said that ignorance is bliss, correct? Are you living your bliss? I continue to think and believe that you should be banned from ever setting foot in the US or its embassies. The world would be better of for it. LOL!

          • marc umeh

            Mr proudly deltan , you can be as proud as you want but that will not becloud the fact that your claims are egregious
            It reminds me of the chant echoed in Nigerians, during the heydays of the oil boom ” I love Nigeria , love it or leave it”
            That chant was quickly subdued when oil price plummeted and the IMF swept in with SAP.
            It is interesting to note that nigerians are now going nativistic —–” proud deltan ‘
            I was recently at the airport im chicago
            while a routine seach was being conducted
            before boarding the plane. One of the passengers was a nigerian ( probably a proud deltan) , What she had as her luggage included —— medications , car seat, light bold , tin milk etc ——you name it.
            And you say that we don’t need Russia , France and US.!!!!!!
            I wonder how much contract you have been awarded lately !!!

  • Kabiru Usman

    My name is Kabiru Usman and i am from Kano state, i gained admission into Nigeria Defence Academy in the year 2012 through the help of Major General Wambai indeed i never thought i can ever get admission again after the second time i failed the the exam and it was not as if i did not prepare for it but soon i discovered it was just because i did not have some one helping me out in regards to the admission Processing, they just deliberately failed me and just the third time my Father and i was wise to seek for a genuine helper then i found this Great man named General Marcus Wambai and he help me exactly the way he promised and when the list was out my name also came out and today i am proud to be a Cadet. So i am using this medium to advise if you need help in regards to the Processing or you are finding it difficult to get the NDA form where you are it is 100% sure that he can help you out with ease once you are a serious type he will put so much of his time, influence and effort to help you and how to reach him call this number (08077684016) i was told by my father that he only have space for 12 persons each year so hurry up only if you can call and and cry to him i believe he will help you too.