The Nigerian Airforce has released an Antonov aircraft said to be carrying some military hardware arrested at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in the early hours of Saturday, December 6, 2014.
The aircraft was released to the French Government on Monday.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Molusola Amosu, who authorized the release noted that even though the French Government had a block clearance for the year, it did not have the clearance to operate that category of flight in the country.
He, however, added that after thorough investigation, the aircraft was not found wanting in anyway.
He noted that the diversion was in line with standard practices world over.
On his part, the French Defence attaché explained that the aircraft was carrying helicopters and Christmas presents for its soldiers stationed in the Chadian capital.
The French Embassy has claimed ownership of the Russian commercial plane carrying two light helicopters and some arms.
Though a close look at the Plane which was packed near the new International terminal of the airport has a Russian Flag design on it with inscription number 224, R-82038.
The plane was held down at the Mallam Aminu International Airport in Kano, while a group of northern consensus movement continue to stage protest around the airport over the identity of the plane.
The French Embassy says the cargo plane, an Antonov 124, had a regular flight plan from Bangui to N’djamena; the embassy also explained that the flight was covered by a diplomatic clearance given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The full details of what the plane was carrying was declared as two gazzelle helicopters with spare parts and maintenance items.
However, after the search of the cargo aircraft “Two invincible to Radar military aircraft, one bullet proof Ford and four containers filled with different caliber of rifles and bullets where discovered”.
Two French non-commissioned officers were also said to be on board as passengers to escort the equipment.
Sources at the airport told Channels Television that the Plane was under the escort of 18 persons comprises of two pilots and two foreign soldiers in military uniform.
“from the control tower, the pilot asked for clearance to land on emergency but on landing he was asked provide clearance for entering the Nigeria airspace, what he gave was actually uttered”