The House of Representatives on Tuesday ordered federal aviation authorities to immediately submit a comprehensive list of all private jets in Nigeria, at a hearing on the controversial grounding of a Rivers State-owned aircraft.
A House Joint Committee on Justice and Aviation agreed that the list, which must contain identification of all private jets in the country, names of owners, agents, expiration dates of clearances and licences and other vital data, be made available in two days.
“Let us have a register of titles of all registered private aircraft in Nigeria including those on ad-hoc basis. If anyone is confidential, indicate so,” the Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Ali Ahmad, said.
The order came after the lawmakers listened to conflicting testimonies from federal government officials, including the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, and Rivers State officials, led by the Secretary to the State Government, George Feyii.
The federal government stuck to its position that the Rivers State government had not established its ownership of the aircraft, since the plane was registered in the name of a U.S. bank.
Again, Rivers State’s claim that Caverton Helicopters was in charge of its interest in the aircraft, requesting and securing necessary clearances, was denied by the helicopter firm.
Caverton agreed it was in partnership with the state initially, but said the cooperation ended since August 2012.
Rivers State has claimed the purchase and operational plan agreement it entered into with the Utah bank and Caverton, which the government has cited as reason for banning the plane, was common with other owners of private jets in the country.
The House of Representatives hearing follows the controversial grounding of the Rivers State Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s private jet due to the “status of the controversial aircraft” by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) last month.
The NCAA had said the aircraft is “operating illegally in the country.”
The Rivers State government, however, claimed the plane was grounded over “vague issues” saying the governor’s pilot had filed all the right papers.