For the second time in a year, the Federal Government, Thursday, grounded the helicopter chartered to fly Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from Benin Airport to Ado Ekiti.
The Governor’s helicopter was first grounded on June 7, last year, after it was recalled mid-air.
Commander of the 81 Air Maritime Group, Benin City, Air Commodore Soji Awomodu told the Governor that he received “a call from above” that no private jet or helicopter be allowed to fly out of Benin City to either Akure or Ekiti.
The Governor who was billed to attend a mass rally organized to round-off the re-election campaigns of the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, was left stranded at the Benin Airport for two hours before Air Commodore Awomodu delivered the message “from above”.
A source at the 81 Air Maritime Group who declined mention however said it was purely a military affair.
Oshiomhole expressed shock at the development as other APC Governors and party leaders were allowed to fly to Ekiti. He however declined to speak with reporters.
The Airport Manager, Mr. Sunday Ayodele and the Airspace Manager, Mr Ibekwe said they had no hands in the Governor’s ordeal as they had no directive to that effect.
The helicopter with registration number 5NBQ8 later flew out of the Benin Airport at 1:20pm without its intended passengers.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Prince Kassim Afegbua confirmed the incident and described it as strange.
It will be recalled that on June 7, 2013, an OAS Helicopter ferrying the Edo State Governor to Awka, Anambra State, was recalled mid-air and grounded by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
The Filipino Pilot of the OAS chopper, Captain James Manahash, had said at the time “we were already airborne when we got the call to return to the airport and was even threatened that failure to do so would lead to complete grounding of the aircraft. The governor prevailed on me to return and listen to them.” Vanguard