By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN CITY-THE prevailing political tension in the nation as a result of the factionalization of the Nigeria Governors Forum became messier Friday as the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), grounded the chartered helicopter which was meant to convey Governor Adams Oshiomhole to Anambra state for the burial ceremony of the wife of Senator Ben Obi,the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mrs Collete Obi.
The drama started when the pilot, Captain James Manahash, who was already air-burn with the governor and his entourage was ordered to fly back to the Benin airport five minutes after taking off over what they described as failure to pay aerodrome and landing fee.
The pilot was threatened to fly back or the aircraft will be banned from flying. It was learnt that the governor who observed the argument between the pilot and the NAMA officials, prevailed on the pilot to come back and answer the call so as to sort out the issues raised.
But to the chagrin of the Governor and the pilot, they were delayed for over one hour thirty minutes even after the pilot paid the landing and aerodrome fees. After waiting for such hours a visibly angry Oshiomhole entered his vehicle and zoomed off. Saturday Vanguard later learnt that he headed to his village at Iyamho. He declined comment.
When newsmen met with the pilot, Captain Manahash, he expressed shocked over the incident, asserting that “I have been a pilot for 35 years out of which 7 years in Nigeria. So I was surprised when I was recalled back to the airport after we took off. The Governor prevailed on me to come back and answer them. When we got back I was told to pay landing and aerodrome fee which ordinarily we could pay later.
“Even after completion of the process of payment, we were still delayed for one hour fifteen minutes with the governor still seated in the aircraft. Ordinarily payment of such fees doesn’t take more then ten minutes. This is not the first time I have been flying the governor and we have never witnessed such a disappointment. It is really shocking” he stated.
More details soon