“We thought Naira Marley was Babatunde Fashola because of the same surname”- CEO of the private jet company that flew the musician to Abuja music show
The Chief Executicve Officer of Executive Jet Services Limited, Dr Sam Iwuajoku, yesterday apologized to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika for the company’s involvement in the Naira Marley breach of the federal government lockdown order.
According to the private charter airline company CEO, he mistook the name Fashola on the manifest of the flight to mean that of Minister of Works and thought the flight was being operated to airlift Mr Babatunde Fashola and his entourage to Abuja instead of the popular musician Azeez Fashola, also known as Naira Marley.
Recall the federal government had on Monday suspended Executive Jets Services for flying popular musician Azeez Fashola also known as Naira Marley contrary to the approval it was granted.
Iwuajoku in a letter addressed to Sirika dated June 15, 2020, titled, “Flight for 13/06/2020 done by Executive Jet Services to Abuja”, said : “We hereby apologized for the above flight, with your permit ref: FMA/ATMD/0175/V/V/1268 dated June 11, 2020”.
Explaining the mix up, he said the flight was to carry a Judge to Abuja on Sunday June 12, 2020 as requested and permit was granted based on the application but unfortunately when he called the judge on Saturday morning to inform him that they had the permit, the Judge said that he had reached Abuja already with a different flight that someone gave him a lift to Abuja.
“So, on Saturday morning June 13, 2020, my staff called me that they have a charter flight to Abuja and that the passengers are already in the lounge. As a rule, passenger manifest is always sent to me before any departure.”
“When I went through the manifest and I saw FASHOLA BABATUNDE, I thought it was the Honourable Minister of Works going to Abuja with his men; so, we decided to do the flight since he is a serving Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria . We are very sorry for this mistake and we promise that this would not happen again.”
“According to the passenger manifest dated, June 13, 2020 made available to us, the Lagos-Abuja-Lagos flight conveyed to Abuja, Adewunmi Segun, Chinonso Opara, Fashola Babatunde, Fashola Adeshina and Adeyeye Tobi.
Others were Michael Opeyemi, Idowu Emmanuel, Seyi Awonuga, Wisdom Intoto and Abayomi Akin”.
Speaking at the daily briefing by members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika announced the suspension of the operation of Executive Jets Service indefinitely for the infraction.
The minister also said the captain who operated the flight would be sanctioned for misleading the control tower.
Sirika said: “Well, we approved a flight but certainly not for any musician. The flight, from the application, was to convey Justice Adefope Okojie from Lagos to Abuja and back to Lagos for an official assignment.
“In this challenging time, in our wisdom, we considered the judiciary to be part of the essential service to be delivered. Having to move the Hon. Justice from Lagos to Abuja was in order”, he said.