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Executive Jets controversy: I haven’t left Abuja since March – Fashola

By Anthony Isaac

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, says he has not left Abuja since March this year when the lockdown and ban on inter-state movement was imposed to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He therefore, described as ridiculous attempts to drag his name into the Executive Jets Services Limited controversy.

The rental airline had its operations licence suspended by the Federal Government for flying music star Naira Marley to Abuja for a concert in violation of government’s ban on inter-state travels.

Government has shutdown all airports in the country following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Only those on essential travels were allowed to use the airports affer obtaining clearance from the Minister of Aviation.

It emerged that the airline got clearance to fly a judge from Lagos to Abuja on the flight but instead flew Marley and it’s crew to Abuja.

In a letter to the Minister, explaining the airline action,
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Mr. Sam Iwuajoku, explained that the airline was mistook one of the passengers for Minister of Works and Housing.

Iwuajoku claimed that when the judge for which the flight was approved was contacted he informed them that he was already in Abuja.

“So on Saturday morning, 13th June, 2020 my staff called and told me that they have a charter flight to Abuja and that the passengers were already at the lounge.

“As a rule, passenger manifest is always sent to me before any departure.

“When I went through the manifest and I saw Fashola Babatunde, I thought it was the Hon. Minister of Works going to Abuja with his men, so we decided to do the flight, since he is serving Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he wrote.

But the Minister of Works and Housing was not impressed that his name was been linked to the incident.

In a statement by his media aide, Hakeem Bello, the Minister said: “For purposes of clarity and in order to set the records straight, the Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, has not travelled out of Abuja since March 22, 2020, when he returned there after an inspection tour of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway construction work and a visit to Lagos, before the lockdown.

“The decision of the Hon. Minister not to travel was taken in strict compliance with the Federal Government’s ban on inter-state travels as part of efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is therefore ridiculous for Dr Iwuajoku to attempt to link the Hon. Minister with any noncompliant flight”.

The Jabi Lake Mall where the concert was held has been shutdown by the FCT administration because there is a ban on mass gathering in the Capital City due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Written by ExpressDay

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