• Says grounded aircraft has safety issues
• ’We are not out to ruin airlines’
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), yesterday, kept mum on allegation of attempted extortion levied against an official by General Overseer of Redeemed Christians Church of God (RCCG), Enoch Adeboye.
The apex regulatory body, following preps by The Guardian, said it would neither join issues with the revered cleric nor respond to “passing comments”.
Adeboye, according to reports, later told a meeting o
f ministers in Ibadan, Oyo State that his flight to the venue was delayed because an unnamed official demanded a bribe that he would not give.
It was learned that the said chopper was at the last minute borrowed for the trip, following NCAA’s refusal to grant approval to Adeboye’s AgustaWestland AW139 chopper that was already due for maintenance.
Adeboye, at the meeting, said: “Something must be done about corruption in this nation. All I can say is that I am this late because somebody wanted a bribe. And you know if you are expecting a bribe from me, you have to wait forever.
“But the devil has failed. And the devil will continue to fail. I decided to come by helicopter so that there won’t be a traffic jam that would tie me down on the expressway because I know what the devil could do. Then, I ran into something else. But by the grace of God, we are here.”
While top officials at the NCAA declined comments, a senior inspector said: “Such comments are a disservice to the body doing its best and ensuring that everyone operates by the rule book, for safety reasons.
“That is the second time in a short period that people are trying to discredit the NCAA. I think if anyone feels so strongly about the institution or any of its official, there are channels to make unambiguous complaints and get a reprieve.
“In the case of the cleric, I’m not sure he was properly briefed on the situation and the right protocol to follow. Aviation has its standard rules and NCAA has a duty to ensure there is no compromise irrespective of who is involved.”
It was learned that Adeboye could not fly his chopper with registration number 5N-EAA to the Ibadan programme but had to fly another aircraft reportedly belonging to Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church, Ota, Ogun State.
Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, had said that the regulatory agency suspended flights on the aircraft for safety reasons.
Nuhu said: “NCAA does not often deal directly with individuals or owners of aircraft but the operator.
“There are safety-related issues that must be resolved before the aircraft will be approved for resumption of flights. Safety is the paramount consideration in all approvals given by the NCAA. No matter what, we must not sacrifice safety for flights; that is the whole idea.”
MEANWHILE, Nuhu, at the weekend, told reporters in Lagos that the regulatory body was not out to ruin any airline, contrary to what is perceived. Rather, to ensure that it fulfills its mandate and ensures it guides airlines to operate safely, efficiently and provide the necessary services.
Nuhu, responding to the grounding of Azman Air and the negative backlash that trailed the episode, said “every surrounding noise is just a mere distraction.”
According to him, the airline is responding to the NCAA’s audit report and is most likely to bounce back better and stronger.
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