The management of Executive Jet Services Limited, the airline suspended indefinitely on Monday for airlifting the popular Nigerian artist, Azeez Babatunde Fashola alias Naira Marley from Lagos to Abuja on June 13th, 2020 has explained that the flight was a case of mistaken identity.
It explained that the hip-hop singer, Naira Marley, whose real name is Azeez Babatunde Fashola was mistaken for the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
In an apology letter issued by the airline and sent to the Minister of Aviation, the airline declared that the flight occurred as a result of mistaken identity due to the similarity of the names of the popular musician and the politician.
The Letter read: “We hereby apologise for the above flight, with your permit ref: FMA/ATMD/0175/V//V/1268 dated 11th June 2020.”
“Please the flight was to carry a Judge to Abuja on Sunday 14th, 2020 as requested and the 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.”
The company in a letter of apology signed by the Chairman/CEO of the company, Dr Sam Iwuajoku and sent to the Minister of Aviation, Sirika, read: “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 Honourable 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.
“We are very sorry for this mistake and we promise that this would not happen again”.
A source who gave more insight into the development, said it was the approval already secured for the airlift of Justice Adefope Okoji, who was already in Abuja that was used to fly Babatunde who later turned out to be Naira Marley and his entourage.
The source said: “We learnt that the name Naira Marley was not in the manifest given to Executive Jet Services Limited; rather, the name, Fashola Babatunde, presumably the Minister of Works and Housing and nine others were shortlisted for the flight.”
It would be recalled that the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had on Monday evening on behalf of the government fed an indefinite suspension of the airline for flying Naira Marley as against the rules that only essential airlift services would be approved for now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.