Executive Jet Services Limited, an aviation company, has tendered an apology for flying Naira Marley, Nigeria singer, to Abuja for a concert.
Various criticisms trailed the event, with many Nigerians calling for disciplinary measures against the singer and the organisers of the event.
The federal capital territory administration (FCTA) had sealed off the Jabi Lake mall, which hosted the singer, for violating restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking during the briefing of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Hadi Sirika, minister for aviation, said the Executive Jet flight that conveyed Naira Marley for the concert was approved for a different purpose.
He announced that the flight company had been suspended indefinitely, adding that the flight captain would be sanctioned for providing false information.
But in a letter addressed to Sirika on Monday, Sam Iwu, the company’s chief executive officer, apologised over the incident.
He admitted that the flight was approved to convey a judge to Abuja but said the intended passenger had found his way to Abuja with the help of another flight.
Iwu said his team later got an offer to convey another set of passengers to Abuja but added that he was confused when he saw the name Fashola Babatunde.
Part of the letter read, “When I went through the manifest and 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. I didn’t know that it was a bunch of useless people.”
The company’s chairman said he thought it was the minister of works and housing not knowing that “it was a bunch of useless people”.
“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.”