Grounded Aircraft: House Clears Amaechi, Indicts NCAA

The House of Representatives on Wednesday cleared the Rivers State Governor, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi,  of any wrong doing in the operations of the state-owned Bombadier B700 Global Express jet and instead indicted the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for illegally grounding the aircraft.
The lower chamber announced this when it considered and adopted the report of its Joint Committee on Justice and Aviation on the urgent need to investigate the justification and circumstances surrounding the controversial grounding of Rivers State Government Bombadier B700 Global Express aircraft last April.
While briefing the committee of the whole presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, chairman of the committee; Hon. Ali Ahmad (PDP, Kwara), explained that the allegations on which the NCAA based its actions on grounding the aircraft were false. He said the aircraft was registered in the US and the committee also found out that over 70 percent of private jets in the country was registered abroad.
In adopting the recommendations, the House requested the Attorney General and Minister for Justice to consider prosecuting Caverton Helicopters for misleading the NCAA to illegally ground the aircraft.
“For providing information that led the authorities to wrongly believe that Rivers State Government falsified documents thereby leading to the grounding of its aircraft, the Hon. Attorney General is requested to consider prosecuting Caverton Helicopters under the provisions of section 36 (4) Civil Aviation Act. C13, 2004,” the House said.
The House also resolved that “the Rivers State Government should be allowed to comply with the necessary conditions for granting of all required permits and licences of Rivers State owned Bombadier B700 Global Express Registration Number N565Rs.”
It also urged the Ministry of Aviation to desist from undue interference in the day to day operations of the aviation regulatory authorities as envisaged by the law.
Similarly, it urged the aviation regulatory authorities to operate professionally and ensure compliance with international best practices in the industry.”
It will be recalled that the Rivers  State owned private aircraft was grounded in April, 2013 by the NCAA. A statement from the NCAA had read: “By our records, the last flight clearance for this aircraft was approved for operation on Thursday, March 28, 2013 on Accra—PH–Accra and to terminate on April 2, 2013.  With this development, the aircraft has exceeded the extra two days or 48 hours leeway for it to leave the country.

“While still operating illegally, the aircraft has been sighted in several places, including Owerri and Akure. The owner of this aircraft, according to the Certificate of Registration, is Bank of Utah Trustee of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The clearance for the aircraft was sought by Caverton Helicopters on March 27, 2013. Consequently, this aircraft in reference is hereby grounded at any airport that is located right now in the country.”


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