The federal government has reportedly grounded a helicopter belonging to Enoch Adeboye, general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), over safety issues.
The chopper has been grounded for two weeks at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, for having expired papers.
Some of its spare parts were also said to be due for replacement.
In place of the AgustaWestland AW139 chopper, the RCCG pastor was said to have used the chopper belonging to David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel) on one occasion.
Musa Nuhu, director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), was quoted as confirming that the regulatory agency suspended flights on the aircraft.
The NCAA DG was, however, silent on Adeboye, saying the agency does not often deal directly with owners of aircraft but the operator.
“There are safety-related issues that must be resolved before the aircraft will be approved for resumption of flights,” Nuhu was quoted as saying.
“Safety is the paramount consideration in all approvals given by the NCAA. No matter what, we must not sacrifice safety for flights; that is the whole idea.”
A top official of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) was also said to have confirmed the suspension, saying, “when it later became obvious that the jet was not cleared to fly, they had to make an alternative arrangement with Bishop Oyedepo’s chopper.”
A staff of Omni-Blu Aviation, the airline operating the chopper, was quoted as saying that a letter requesting the NCAA to grant a time extension on the spare parts that are due for replacement came late.
Italy-based Leonardo, which manufactures the aircraft, is said to have ordered for the spare parts but they have yet to be shipped into Nigeria.