Amaechi’s grounded jet: WE BROKE NO LAW, says Rivers State Government

Posted by News Express | 28 April 2013 | 7,892 times

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The Government of Rivers State, South-South Nigeria, today faulted the claim by the country’s aviation regulators that its $45.7 million Bombardier jet being used by Governor Chibuike Amaechi was grounded for operating illegally in the country.

Announcing the ban last night, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had claimed that the aircraft had no valid operational licence.

“The controversial aircraft on the service of Governor Rotimi Amaechi is operating illegally in the country,” NCAA’s Acting Director General, Mrs. Joyce Nkemakolam, had told newsmen.

“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,” she added.

The claims were however faulted by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, who said at a press briefing today in Port Harcourt, the state capital:

“As we speak, all I have is information that I have gleaned from the media. All we have as a government is that information. No formal communication has reached us in Rivers state government. We believe that it will be best that we await formal communication from the regulatory agency.

“Just to say that all our documentation is in place. And to also say that as a responsible government, we have complied with the norms that regulate aviation business in Nigeria. We have applied formally to the honourable minister of aviation for the import license. That application was received in her office in Sept. 2012.

“So, we believe that all of the procedure, we have complied as best as we know. However, we do understand that the regulatory agencies are best equipped to tell us if they think there is any lapse and we will expect that the communication will come to us formally and not through the mass media. We believe that we are obligated to comply with all the regulations that govern the aviation business in Nigeria. We are a responsible government and we will not defy the regulatory agencies.”

Amaechi has attributed his travails to the Presidency and it is widely believed that he is being made to suffer for allegedly not supporting President Goodluck Jonathan’s presumed second term ambition.

Source: News Express

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