GONE THE WAY IT CAME: Plane that caused panic at Lagos petrol station vanishes the same way it appeared

Posted by Amechi Obiakpu, Lagos | 16 June 2013 | 4,389 times

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People in the neighbourhood woke up Thursday morning to find an aircraft parked at a popular filling station and woke up this morning to discover that the plane had vanished. Just as nobody could clearly say how the plane came to be at the petrol station, no one is also able to explain how it was taken away.

This morning, normal business activities resumed at Dapsey Oil, along Iba- LASU Road, Lagos, South West Nigeria. What came to be known as “the mystery plane” which had obstructed activities for three days at the station was nowhere to be found.

In what remained a puzzle to many, the Cessna aircraft with United States registration N972TF  reportedly owned by Bethel Ministry founded by late Bishop Gabriel Oduyemi, threw many into confusion. Residents of Olowonla Bus Stop area were amazed after they woke up Thursday morning to be greeted by the sight of a parked plane at the filling station instead of being in the sky.

When News Express visited Dapsey filling station this afternoon, a place which for three days had become a cynosure, the aircraft had been removed, with normalcy returned to the area. Daphne Uduneje, a journalist with Nigerian Pilot newspaper, told this reporter that on her way to the church in the morning she noticed that the plane had been relocated.

“I noticed that some people were working on the tires of the plane when I passed by the filling station on Saturday evening but on going to church Sunday morning the plane was gone,” she said.

News Express requested to see Manager of the filling station to seek the location of the plane, but was told he was unavailable. A staffer of the depot who refused to give his name but simply identified himself as the supervisor said that they arrived for work in the morning and noticed that the plane had been removed.

Said he: “Just like we woke up Thursday morning and saw the aeroplane, that is how we resumed work this morning and noticed the plane was gone.”

He noted that the presence of the plane had affected business activities of the filling station because it obstructed the driveway, making it difficult for vehicles and fuel seekers to access the station coupled with the presence of security personnel.

The owner of the filling station, Oladapo Cocker, had lamented the way his business was paralysed by the development, disclosing that he was waiting for his lawyer before pressing charges against the owners of the airplane.

“I was called at about 1 a.m. Wednesday from the Divisional Police Officer of the area that a light aircraft they were towing to Badagry had broken down at the middle of the highway and that they would need my premises to park it. I obliged them thinking it would be for few hours before they would come and remove it,” he said.

From the expression on their faces, residents were excited to go back to their business activities. No one could offer explanation as to where the disused aircraft was towed to or the people who had removed it as most of them said they only woke up and saw that the plane had been moved.

Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Engr. Nnamdi Udoh, in a statement Thursday said that the said plane was actually a junk one belonging to Oduyemi of Bethel Ministries and had long been parked at a NAMA facility up till Wednesday night when it was eventually removed.

He said that the aircraft was released for educational purposes in Badagry, Lagos. News Express later exclusively identified Captain Michael Ekehinde, husband of Nollywood goddess Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde, as the one to whom the plane was released. 

Photo shows the plane at the filling station before it was removed.

Source: News Express

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