Yes, it’s true; but ‘no cause for panic’ -Info Commissioner
By Ime Silas
The aircraft purchased by Akwa Ibom State government and handed over to the current governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel upon assumption of office in 2015, has been reportedly abandoned by the state government.
This was brought to the fore by a former Deputy Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, AKHA, Hon. Uwem Udoma in an open letter to the governor tagged “Feeling Very Sad”.
According to the letter dated September 15, 2021, which the former lawmaker personally signed, the abandonment of the State government-owned plane followed its now confirmed involvement in an accident.
Hon Udoma, who frowned at the governor’s continued resort to borrowing, suggested that rather, the abandoned aircraft could be sold to raise funds for the state instead of loans.
The letter which was addressed to the Akwa Ibom governor, Udom G. Emmanuel,reads thus “Please sir, with due respect.Where is our aircraft handed over to you in 2015 on your inauguration as the 4th executive governor ( civilian) of Akwa Ibom State.
“I was in the 4th Assembly in 2010, when the house approved on the special request of his Excellency Gov. Akpabio,’s to purchase this aircraft. It was ordered brand new, used and handed over to you in 2015 in a very good form.
“I have information that our aircraft in your care is badly damaged due to a fatal accident at the wrong parking lot which is cheap in Lagos. Another aircraft taxing to park, hit it and badly damaged our only aircraft.
“I also have information that our state through you is borrowing #7 Billion naira to raise our debt profile from #232.2billion naira to #240billion naira as at Sept, 2021.
“I learnt the #7 billion is to be used as follows:-#2billion for Agriculture and #5 billion for housing. This present government has not shown any interest in housing in the last six years except for the Lagos Governor’s lodge and is to spend #5 billion from borrowing in less than two years on housing scheme.
“I feel very sad to learn that this things happen during your tenure as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State( 2015 – 2023). It would have been better if you sold the aircraft and used the money instead of borrowing. I hold you responsible for this act of negligence, improper planning and execution.
That aircraft belongs to the people of Akwa Ibom State, including me. It was is not a personal aircraft, that is the reason for this questions and good answers are needed if any would come”.
In a swift reaction, the Akwa Ibom State government through the Information and Strategy Commissioner, Mr. Ini Ememobong, while admitting the involvement of the jet in an accident, noted that there was no need for panic.
The Honourable Commissioner said in a press release dated September 15, 2021, that “Recently, there was an accident at Execujet, a private jet hanger and apron in Lagos, where a Global Express aircraft hit our parked State aircraft, damaging its nose cone and radar.
“The accident happened while our jet was parked at its allotted parking point and the Global Express jet was taxing to its parking point. The pilot and the management of the offending aircraft have earnestly accepted responsibility.
“Consequently, the aviation industry being a highly regulated sector that runs on insurance, the insurers have underwritten the risk and the state plane will be back to use soon.
The State Government assures that there is no cause for panic, as adequate industry safeguards have been activated in line with global best practices in the aviation sector”.