Posted by Sade Williams
For conveying popular musician, Naira Marley to Abuja for a musical concert , Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika has ordered the suspension of private airline, Executive Jet Services, from operating in the country with immediate effect.
According to the Minister, the return flight that conveyed the musician to and from Abuja was originally approved by the Ministry of Aviation to convey Justice Adefope Okojie, an approval that was fraudulently used by the airline charter company.
He said the conduct of the Executive Jet Services was a gross violation of the Presidential Task Force regulations and protocols which allowed only flights on essential services.
The Minister announced the suspension order of the local airline during Monday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
Sirika reiterated that as much as government would encourage the operation and growth of all operators in the aviation industry, it would not condone actions that undermine government policies and constitute risks to public interests.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Ministerial Task Team on COVID-19 had on Sunday, sealed the premises of the Jabi Lake Mall where the concert took place, over violation of the Presidential ban on social gatherings, to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
The FCTA noted that the management of the mall granted permit to and hosted a concert by Naira Marley on June 12, 2020, despite several warnings by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
It noted that the concert not only violated the rules of social distancing and use of face masks in public, it also breached the 10 pm to 4 am curfew declared by the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, Sirika on Monday at the briefing said the aircraft which conveyed the musician was supposed to fly an Appeal Court Judge, Justice Adefope Okogie, from Lagos to Abuja.
“The operation is a clear violation of our approval which we take very seriously. It seems this is becoming a norm. This is the second time. So, Executive Jet Services is hereby suspended indefinitely and they will face the law.
“The captain will also be sanctioned for giving wrong information to the control tower. It seems also that people are not tired of trying our resolve and we are not tired of living up to our responsibilities. Governance is a serious matter”, he said.
The minister said the government would henceforth be stricter in granting approvals for private flights.
“The person on that flight conducted a concert. We approved a flight, certainly not for a musician. The flight was approved to convey Honourable Justice Adefope Okogie from Lagos to Abuja and then back to Lagos for an official assignment.
“In this challenging time, in our wisdom, we decided that the judiciary was part of the essential services. Moving a judge from Lagos to Abuja was in order.”