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Nigerian Airline in trouble for illegally flying a musician for a concert

A Nigerian Airline is in trouble for flying a musician for a concert in Abuja. The CEO has defended the company saying he thought he was a government official not a ‘bunch of useless people.’

Executive Jets Services Ltd says it airlifted rapper Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, from Lagos to Abuja for a concert, in error via an official letter to the Minister of Aviation.

Executive Jet Company has apologised to the aviation minister for flying musician Naira Marley on Saturday from the commercial hub, Lagos, to the capital, Abuja, to perform at a concert.

According to a report by BBC, Executive Jet Company was suspended by the minister for facilitating what was classed as non-essential travel and was against the government’s recommendations to fight the spread of coronavirus.

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Executive Jets Services Ltd says it airlifted rapper Babatunde Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, from Lagos to Abuja for a concert, in error.⁣ .⁣ On Monday, June 15, 2020, Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika suspended Executive Jets for lying about its operations and for violating the ban that has shut down Nigeria’s airspace since March, in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.⁣ .⁣ Marley’s concert in Abuja on Saturday, June 13, sparked outrage on social media platforms for violating social and physical distancing protocols.⁣ .⁣ In a letter dated June 15, 2020 and addressed to Aviation Minister Sirika, the Chairman and CEO of ExecuJets, Sam Iwuajoku apologized for the flight that took Marley to Abuja and referred to the rapper and his crew as a “bunch of useless people.”⁣ .⁣ Iwuajoku admitted that “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.”⁣ .⁣ Iwuajoku added that he was tricked into picking Marley because the rapper bears the same name as Nigeria’s Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Raji Fashola.⁣ .⁣ “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 it is a serving Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I didn’t know it was a bunch of useless people.⁣ .⁣ “We are very sorry for this mistake and we promise that this will not happen again.”⁣ .⁣ When Pulse put a phone call across to ExecuJets CEO Iwuajoku to ascertain if the letter did come from him, he quickly hung up in anger. A text message sent to him has also not been replied.⁣ .⁣ #PulseNigeria #PulseNews #NairaMarley

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In an apology letter to the aviation minister, the airline’s CEO, Sam Iwuajoku, said the flight had been initially booked for a judge on Sunday who then made other travel arrangements.

Mr Iwuajoku said in the letter that he had approved the flight on Saturday after reviewing the passenger manifest and thought one of them was a government minister.

“I saw Fashiola Babatunde, I thought it was the Honourable Minister for Works with his men, so we decided to do the flight since [it was] a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I didn’t know that it was a bunch of useless people,” Mr Iwuajoku said.

Nigerian artist Naira Marley was among the 10 passengers who were on the flight instead.

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The hitmaker has since taken to social media to call out the company and vowed never to fly with the airline ever again.

He however admitted that his brother’s name is Moshood Babatunde Fashola, the passenger who was mistakenly identified as the government official.

The CEO later backtracked his ‘useless people’ comment saying it was in a fit of anger but he wished that the artist would be arrested for playing at a concert in the middle of a pandemic.

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