The lingering battle between President Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi is far from being over as a chartered N7.1 billion Bombardier jet which conveyed the amiable governor was grounded on Sunday, June 8, 2014. Information available to ENCOMIUM Weekly revealed that the presidency allegedly ordered Nigerian aviation authorities to prevent the jet carrying Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi from leaving the Kano International Airport the plane was grounded after security agencies decided that Mr. Amaechi, former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, ex-governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki and a former governor of Gombe state and now Senator, Danjuma Goje were instrumental to pressurizing Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso of Kano to ratify ousted CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the new Emir of Kano.
The Bombardier aircraft that was chartered from an undisclosed agency could not leave the airport as aviation agencies claimed there was an order from above to stop night flights out of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.
Governor Amaechi left Kano around 8pm Nigerian time by road en route to Port Harcourt.
Our source divulged that National Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) operatives refused to give clearance to the governor’s jet to take off, leaving the governor and his aides no other option than to travel by road out of Kano.
The Kano State Commissioner for State Affairs, Aminu Abdusalam who was responsible for hosting guests to the governor confirmed the development .
The seizure of Amaechi’s jet followed a riot in Kano against Sanusi’s choice as emir.
Consequently, we gathered that government has banned private planes from landing at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano. Chris Olukolade, the spokesperson for the Nigerian military reportedly said that the ban was for “security reasons” and declined to state the nature of the security concerns. But a source in the military has revealed that the directive is connected with Sunday’s crowning of Lamido Sanusi as the new emir of Kano. “After the emir was appointed, there were lots of protests from the group supporting the late emir’s son. The security agencies must have felt that certain actions need to be taken,” the source, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak for the military, said Investigation by ENCOMIUM Weekly revealed that chartering a private jet ranges between $8,000 and $10,000 per hour. Thus, chartering the jet for a day costs about N30.7 million.
This will not be the first Governor Amaechi’s jet would be impounded by the Presidency. On April 26, 2013, the governor and his entourage were grounded for about two hours at the Akure Airport, Ondo State, on the allegations that it violated aviation procedures before take-off. The jet was later seized by the Nigerian government until it was released last week.
Amaechi and his aides were returning from Ado-Ekiti, where they attended the burial of the late Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mrs. Funmi Olayinka.
On Monday, June 9, 2014, the Rivers state spokesperson, David Iyofor confirmed the development. “Yes. It’s not his private jet. It’s a hired jet.”