A chartered helicopter which was meant to convey Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State to Anambra for the burial ceremony of Mrs Collette Obi – wife of the Special Adviser to the President on inter-party affairs, Senator Ben Obi, on Friday was grounded by the National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Information Nigeria gathered that the chopper, which was already airborne with the governor and his entourage, was ordered to return to the Benin airport five minutes after taking off for failing to pay the approved aerodrome and landing charges.
The pilot, Captain James Manahash, was threatened to fly back otherwise they will be grounded. Oshiomhole, upon observing the conversation between the control tower and the pilot, ordered that they return to Benin in order to sort out the issues raised.
However, it was learnt that upon landing at the helipad, the governor’s flight was delayed for over one hour thirty minutes even after the pilot had paid the mandatory fees.
A visibly piqued Oshiomhole reportedly entered into his official car and zoomed off without a comment.
Later in an interaction with journalists, the pilot, Captain Manahash, expressed shocked over the incident, asserting that “I have been a pilot for 35 years out of which 7 years in Nigeria. So I was surprised when I was recalled back to the airport after we took off. The Governor prevailed on me to come back and answer them. When we got back I was told to pay landing and aerodrome fee which ordinarily we could pay later.
“Even after completion of the process of payment, we were still delayed for one hour fifteen minutes with the governor still seated in the aircraft. Ordinarily payment of such fees doesn’t take more then ten minutes. This is not the first time I have been flying the governor and we have never witnessed such a disappointment. It is really shocking” he stated.