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‘Why NCAA grounded Obi aircraft’

Facts emerged on Thursday over the grounding of the campaign aircraft of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, by the Nigerian Civil Aviation…

Facts emerged on Thursday over the grounding of the campaign aircraft of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

Head of Media of Obi-Datti Campaign Organisation, Mr Diran Onidade, had in a statement decried the development, expressing surprise at the yet “to be explained grounding of its campaign aircraft.” 

He said the action led to the inability of LP and campaign officials, who had already gathered at Lagos and Abuja airports, to attend the Ibadan rally. 

Our correspondent reports that the aircraft with registration number 5Y-HPY is a Bombardier DHC-8-400 aircraft owned by DAC Aviation International, an aircraft leasing company.

Sources told Daily Trust on Thursday that the aircraft was grounded for allegedly violating safety procedures by refusing to comply with instruction from the Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) not to depart Benin airport. 

It was learnt that the regulatory authority had commenced an investigation into the matter while the aircraft remained grounded in Lagos.

“This has nothing to do with politics and NCAA has zero tolerance for regulatory infractions. Aviation is a highly regulated industry and we cannot afford to take any chance because lives are involved,” another source said. 

The NCAA has not spoken officially on the matter as the Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, had yet to reply to a text message sent to him as of press time.

Daily Trust reports that apart from a few international airports such as Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu which have a 24-hour operation, other airports like Benin and Ibadan are sunset airports, which means, they are operational from sunrise to sunset. 

The airport operation is only expected on special request but it was not clear whether such a request was filed to ATCs which are under the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).