Apparently due to the death of 157 persons on Sunday in the crash involving a Boeing 737 Max belonging to Ethiopia Airlines in Addis Ababa, the Federal Government yesterday banned the use of the aircraft in Nigeria till further notice.
The move followed similar action from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), European Union (EU), Germany, New Zealand and Fiji over safety of the facility after its second mishap in five months. Since Monday, several countries, including Australia, Indonesia, China, India, Morocco, Singapore and Ethiopia, have grounded the plane.
Despite the subtle move to ban the aircraft globally, the American government has rallied behind the manufacturer. Boeing’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dennis Muilenburg, had spoken with President Donald and assured of the safety of the aircraft.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, told State House Correspondents after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, calmed the flying public, stating that the development was being monitored. He said: “The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, whose mandate it is to issue advisory, has already said that nobody should fly into or out of Nigeria with Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 pending the determination of the actual cause of the crash in Ethiopia and also pending the outcome of the response of the manufacturer, which is Messers Boeing.”
Besides Air Peace and Arik Air that had placed orders for the plane, no other operator – be it local or foreign – has ever flown the aircraft into or within the nation’s airspace. The minister noted that the security concerns of the facility had raised apprehension globally. His words: “So, we have issued directive that no operator with Boeing 737 Max 8 or 9 should operate into and outside our airports and this is being carried out.
“Regarding Air Peace and Arik orders, whether those they were confirmed or intent, it is to our knowledge in the ministry that they won’t be in the country until the next two years or so. And this is enough period to sort out whatever problem it is with that plane.” He said council also sanctioned contracts for the provision of security equipment for Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports in conformity with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said approval was also secured for a €64,750,000 facility from the French Development Agency for a major water project in Kano State. To her, the move is to improve the living condition of 1.5 million people in the metropolis as far as provision of water was concerned.
Also yesterday, the University of Ibadan (UI) held a march in honour of Prof. Pius Adesanmi, one of the victims of the Sunday crash in Ethiopia. Former Dean of Arts, Prof. Remi Raji-Oyelade, said the deceased was a driving force behind many academic achievements in the institution.
According to him, Adesanmi had a feeling of his death going by their last discussion. “We had been talking for the past three weeks and Pius kept mentioning death. I believe he saw his death coming,” he stated.