We thought our passenger was Babatunde Fashola, Works Minister, says Executive Jet CEO

EXECUTIVE Jet Services Limited, the aviation company, whose private jet flown Nigerian music star, Naira Marley to Abuja for a concert on Friday, June 12 has apologised for flying the controversial musician to the nation’s capital against the law.

In the letter of apology addressed to Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, Sam Iwuajoku,  Chief Executive Officer of Executive Jet Services Limited admitted that the flight was approved to convey a judge to Abuja but said the intended passenger had found his way to Abuja with the help of another flight.

“Please the flight was to carry a Judge to Abuja on Sunday 14th, 2020 as requested and permit was granted based on the application, but unfortunately when I called the Judge on Saturday morning to inform him that we have the permit, he then said that he has reached Abuja already with a different flight that someone gave him a lift to Abuja,” he said in the letter.

Iwuajoku said his team later got an offer to convey another set of passengers to Abuja but added that he was confused when he saw the name Fashola Babatunde.

Naira Marley’s real name is Azeez Fashola, but a particular name on the flight’s manifest was Fashola Babatunde, and it was No.6 on the list while there was also Fashola Adeshina on the list as No.3.

The company’s chairman said he thought it was the minister of works and housing not knowing that “it was a bunch of useless people”.

“So on Saturday morning 13th June, 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 Honorable 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, I didn’t know that it was a bunch of useless people,”  he explained.

“We hereby apologize for the above flight, with your permit ref: PMA/ATMD/0175/V/V/1268 dated 11th June, 2020.”

“We are very sorry for this mistake and we promise that this would not happen again.”

This followed the suspension of the company by the Federal Government on Monday after it established that the private jet was approved  for a different purpose which was to convey a judge, Justice  Adefope Okoj to Abuja and back to Lagos on official assignment.

Naira Marley had Friday night performed in Abuja at Jabi Lake Mall in a concert that was meant to be a sit-in car show but turned to large crowd event which violated the lockdown guidelines against the COVID-19 imposed by the government.

The event which has left the aviation company suspended indefinitely by the Federal Government  also saw to the sealing off of   Jabi Lake Mall for two weeks by the Federal Capital Territory Administration for hosting the singer and violation of restrictions on social gathering.

Abeeb Alawiye formerly works with The ICIR as a Reporter/Social Media officer. Now work as a Senior Journalist with BBC News Yoruba. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @habsonfloww

Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

Support the ICIR

We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Support the ICIR

We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.


Most read