The tension between the Federal Government and the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi has worsened with the National Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA banning the Rivers State-owned bombardier aircraft from flying in Nigeria’s airspace again.
The latest face-off began with the aircraft delayed for few hours at the Akure airport on Friday for reasons the governor called cock and bull stories.
The Rivers State governor has been at loggerheads with the presidency over his stance on major national issues.
FAAN spokesperson had claimed that Friday’s delay of the aircraft was because the pilot failed to declare the flight manifest.
The Acting Director General of the NCAA, Benedict Adeyinka, also the Director of Airworthiness and Standards, at a press conference in Lagos Saturday announced the suspension of the bombadier plane from flying in Nigeria’s airspace. The reason given was that the clearance certificate for the aircraft had since expired.
The NCAA official noted that “the aircraft, a bombardier –BD700, global express with registration no N565 RS has its clearance approval expired since Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013.”
“By our records, the last flight clearance for this aircraft was approved for operation on Thursday, March 28, 2013 on Accra-PH –Accra and to terminate on April 2, 2013. With this development, the aircraft has exceeded the extra two days or 48 hours leeway for it to leave the country.”
“While still operating illegally, the aircraft has been sighted in several places including Owerri and Akure.”
“The owner of this aircraft according to the certificate of registration is Bank of Utah, trustee of Salt Lake City, Utah USA. The clearance for the aircraft was sought by Caverton Helicopters on March 27, 2013. Consequently, this aircraft in reference is hereby grounded at any airport that is located right now in the country.” Adeyinka added.
Analysts believe that Governor Amaechi’s is perceived to have a strong political influence within the ranks of the Peoples Democratic Party and his leading a massive opposition against the PDP Chairman, Bamanga Tukur poses a threat the presidency and some elements within the ruling party would want to douse by all means.
The governor also accused of using his post as the Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum to strategically position himself as vice-presidential candidate of the party in the coming 2015 presidential election, will have to contend with PDP’s tactic in forming the PDP Governors’ Forum, led by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom.
Mr. Amaechi was elected chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum in June 2011 for an initial two-year term.
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