Sam Iwu, CEO of Executive Jet Services Limited, the flight operator whose aircraft conveyed Naira Marley on Saturday to perform at a concert in Abuja despite a ban on interstate travel has defended the company’s inglorious role.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika on Monday, announced the suspension of the Executive Jet adding that the pilot would face sanction over the infraction.
Sirika said the flight sought and got approval to convey a judge to Abuja from Lagos, saying the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 viewed the judiciary as essential service.
In an apology letter to the minister, Iwu said the infraction was not deliberate but an indiscretion and lapse in his own judgment.
He explained that upon sighting Fashola on the manifest sent to him, he thought the singer was the Works and Housing Minister and former Lagos governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
The letter reads in part: “We hereby apologize for the above flight, with your permit ref: PMA/ATMD/0175/V/V/1268 dated 11th June, 2020,” the letter read.
“Please the flight was to carry a Judge to Abuja on Sunday 14th, 2020 as requested and permit was granted based on the application, but unfortunately when I called the Judge on Saturday morning to inform him that we have the permit, he then said that he has reached Abuja already with a different flight that someone gave him a lift to Abuja.
“So on Saturday morning 13th June, 2020 my staff called me that they have a charter flight to Abuja and that the passengers are already in 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 Honorable Minister of Works going to Abuja with his men, so we decided to do the flight since (he) is a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I didn’t know that it was a bunch of useless people.
“We are very sorry for this mistake and we promise that this would not happen again.”
Recall that the singer’s real name is Azeez Fashola.