The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika on Sunday said the Federal government has impounded an aircraft belonging to Flair Aviation, a United Kingdom-based aviation company for violating the current flight ban into the country.
This is just as the federal government has begun immediate investigations into the circumstances that led to the breach of the flight ban.
Also, there are strong indications that pressure is already being mounted on the federal government to give those responsible for the breach a ” soft landing “.
Speaking with Vanguard, the Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Dr. James Odaudu said the federal government has commenced immediate Investigation into the operation of the commercial flight by Flair Aviation into the country.
Odaudu said,” Yes, the federal government has commenced investigations into the incident. An official statement will be issued after the investigation by the Minister “.
When pressed further for a time lag of the investigation, Odaudu said ” as soon as investigations are concluded, a statement will be issued. It could be anytime”, he added.
But there are strong indications that pressure is already being mounted on the federal government to soft-pedal on the incident and investigations. A source told Vanguard that those responsible for the flight into the country are already using their contacts within the government to plead for leniency.
The source, who does not want to be named, said, ” You don’t expect those responsible for this grievous breach of presidential order to fold their hands and allow justice to take its course. They are already pleading and lobbying “.
” Don’t worry, an official statement will be issued later,” the source told Vanguard.
Flair Aviation operated a commercial flight as against the humanitarian operations it was approved to operate to Nigeria.
Sirika who disclosed the seizure of the aircraft via his official twitter handle said the crew of the flight is also being interrogated to know their level of culpability as there shall be maximum penalty for the offence.
According to Hadi Sirika @hadisirika, ” COVID-19. Flair Aviation, a UK company, was approved for humanitarian operations but regrettably, we caught them conducting commercial flights.
This is callous! The craft is impounded, the crew being interrogated. There shall be the maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve, ” the Aviation Minister said.
Recall there is a current flight ban into and within the country since March when the current coronavirus pandemic assumed alarming dimension.
The ban was further extended by four weeks on May 6th by the federal government.
As at the time of filing this report, the official statement from the government is still being awaited.