Contrary to reports that former president Olusegun Obasanjo was on board an Ethiopian Airlines plane that reportedly escaped a crash in Lagos on Wednesday, Obasanjo has said he was not one of the 393 passengers on the flight.
- In fact, the former president, according to a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, did not even leave his home on Inauguration Day.
The false story was first reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) which said that Obasanjo was on board the Boeing 777-300 aircraft that encountered bad weather during landing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport. The story claimed that Obasanjo was returning from a stakeholders’ dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which ended on Tuesday in Addis Ababa.
Meanwhile, here is Ethiopian Airlines’ response to the alleged close shave:
- According to its General Manager Nigeria, Firihiewot Mekonnen, the aircraft took off in Addis Ababa en route Lagos.
- The aircraft did not escape crash as reported, rather there was bad weather at the airport during landing which made the pilot embark on a go–round the airport for better and smooth landing.
- “On a second attempt, the aircraft made safe and normal landing. This was according to safety standards. Pilots are encouraged to make similar go – round in such cases. However, some media incorrectly reported this standard safety precautionary go – round.”
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) confirmed the airline’s version:
- “The flight, which tried to land at about 1157 hours had earlier mis-approached due to bad weather and immediately went up to position properly for landing. The aircraft landed safely at exactly 1213hours and parked at gate E63.”
Obasanjo trivia question: Since the former president has confirmed that he was in the country on Inauguration Day, how come he did not leave his home to attend the event in Abuja? His absence, alongside that of former president Goodluck Jonathan, meant that none of Nigeria’s living democratically elected presidents attended the second inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari.