The embattled Chief Executive 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 Flying of Naira Marley to Abuja which breached the lock down order of the federal government.
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.
In a letter on Monday, Sam Iwu, the company’s chief executive officer, apologised over the controversial incident that led to the company being suspended.
Naira Marley performed at the Jabi Lake Mall in Abuja at the weekend amid measures by Nigerian government to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The singer became the subject of criticisms among Nigerians, especially on social media, after clips of his performance went viral.
The federal capital territory administration (FCTA) in its reactolion sealed off the Jabi Lake mall for violating Covid-19 restriction orders.
Speaking during the briefing of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s minister for aviation, said the Executive Jets flight that conveyed Naira Marley for the concert was approved for a different purpose.
He announced the indefinite suspension of the company and the flight captain for providing false information.
Aviation Company reacts
Mr Iwu in his statement claimed that the flight was approved to convey a judge to Abuja, adding that the passenger had however found his way to Abuja with the via another flight.
He explained that the company later got an offer to convey another set of passengers to Abuja. The new development, he said, caused confusion as the name “Fashola Babatunde” appeared in the letter.
Mr Iwu claimed he thought it was the minister of works and housing but they turned out to be “a bunch of useless people”.
The letter reads in part: “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.
“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.”
The company apologised over the incident and vowed that it won’t make such mistakes again.
“We are very sorry for this mistake and we promise that this would not happen again,” Mr Iwu said.