The First Lady of Nigeria, Patience Jonathan came
under criticism yesterday as news of the alleged closure of the nation’s
airspace for a Presidential jet conveying her to Lagos on Sunday went
viral on BlackBerry Messenger and online social networks. If you missed it, read it HERE.
The closure was said to have prevented the pilot of the distressed
Dana Air’s plane from making an emergency landing at the airport.
Reports circulated claimed that although the Dana plane had an engine
failure, the distressed aircraft could have made it to the airport if it
was not delayed by the VIP movement.
However, in response to this, the Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Joe Obi,
said the airspace was never closed for the First Lady on Sunday. He
noted that the First Lady arrived in Lagos at about 4.45pm on Saturday,
2nd June, 2012 and only departed for Abuja on Monday, the 4th of June,
2012 at 1.30pm, whereas the ill-fated Dana flight 0992 departed Abuja on
Sunday, 3rd of June, 2012 at 2.54pm and its last contact with the Lagos
Control Tower was at 3.42pm as has already been announced.
The rumours prompted a response from the Office of the First Lady:…. Continue to see her response.
I am responding to the rumor mongers because of the involvement of
the script writers of those that wish to heat up the polity of Nigeria
at every event or given opportunity. Like they have always done, using
every opportunity to make Nigeria ungovernable. Why would a group of
people in different disguises want to play politics with this sad event
just to get back to political rivals or superiors?
This morning, reports from one Ade Atobatele….Information Technology
and Services has filtered the air. Don’t know which of the firms that
is, claimed that the Dana Airline misfortune was caused by the closure
of airspace for the first lady’s aircraft. He was quoted as saying he
was informed by a pilot of a private Jet that also had to hover in the
air for 2 hours 15mins before the airspace opened for landing. He has
conned his story that the social, electronic and print media has started
reporting it without verifying his source.
Let Ade Atobatele (if he does exist) and Nigerians know that the
Nigerian Air space can only be closed for 10 minutes only when an
Aircraft conveying the President approaches an airport and 10 minutes
after landing. A total accumulation of 20 minutes by regulations. And
let Ade and Nigerians also note that the Air space can never be closed
for an aircraft conveying the first lady or any other individual in
Nigeria. Let Nigerians know that regulations gives a code red preference
to any aircraft on “May Day” (in danger) distress against any other
aircraft even if it’s presidential. A presidential jet will be asked to
divert towards a military airbase in case of a conflict in interest of
landing. As we are aware, flight 0992 had called for MAY DAY 11mins
before its ETA (estimated time of arrival) at 11 mins, the aircraft had
prepared for landing. No aircraft is allowed to prepare for landing in
an airspace that is closed. 20mins to landing, an aircraft as large as
the boeing MD-83 can only commence descend from its cruise altitude.
Where then is the logic in Ade’s story?
Let Ade also take note that the traffic control unit at the airport
has confirmed that the air space was actually closed for 15mins for the
Dana Air flight 0992 to perform an emergency landing before the
Please I admonish all readers to disregard the allegation against the
office and person of the First lady in their attempt to incite
While we all pray that the Good Lord grants Nigerians and most
especially the families of those that lost their lives to the sad
incident the fortitude to bear the loss.