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Grounded jet belongs to Caverton Helicopters, not Amaechi, says FAAN

By The Citizen

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), yesterday said that the grounded a Bombardier - BD 700 Global Express aircraft marked N565RS belongs to Caverton Helicopters and not the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.

Speaking on a television programme monitored in Lagos by THE CITIZEN, the General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr Yakubu Dati, said that  'The owner of this aircraft, according to the certificate of registration, is Bank of Utah Trustees of Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America (USA). The clearance for the aircraft was sought by Caverton Helicopters on March 27, 2013.

'It is very sad that when we try to do our job people bring in politics into it. It is very sad. We have the facts, we have the records. We don't even have Rivers State in all our documentation,' he said.

He wondered why people continued to name the Rivers State Government as its owner, adding that the aircraft in question had been operating illegally since the expiration of its approved flight clearance on April 2.

He insisted that going by the record available to aviation authorities; the last flight clearance for the aircraft was approved on March 28 on Accra/Port Harcourt and Accra route to terminate on April 2.

With this development, the aircraft has exceeded the extra two days or 48 hours leeway for it to leave the country.

To buttress his point, Dati said that if an Embassy issues a tourist or student visa to a person, when the visa expires, the person holding the visa is staying in the country illegally.

But, in a swift reaction, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said the government followed the due processes.

She said all agencies knew the aircraft belongs to the government of Rivers State.

On whether the airplane was operating illegally in Nigeria, Mrs. Semenitari, said the claim may not be correct.

She, however, said the state was 'not interested in joining issues with aviation authorities, but only state the facts as they are, insisting that the government complied with all the directives as outlined by the ministry of aviation and other agencies.'