Air Peace airlines yesterday rued the loss of several millions of naira as a result of the disruption of its Enugu airport operations. In what the airline calls “sabotage”, the operator was obstructed for hours over alleged indebtedness.
Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, told reporters that its operation was shut down by the Airport Manager, Mgbemena Orjiakor, over N7million debt that the airline says it has paid.
Onyema said, “We do not know if the airport manager is sponsored by someone to bring down Air Peace because even after Lagos sent evidence of the payment, rather than own up to the fact that the agency lacked proper accounting, the agency said the airline is owing an outstanding N1.8million. This is why I said this act is sabotage.”
Onyema lamented that an airline that owes the government over N11billion was allowed to operate that morning but Air Peace was temporary shut down over N7million it already paid.
“When I called the Enugu airport manager to complain to him about the situation, he answered me rudely by saying I was talking like a riff-raff. This man is not fit to be in that position. This same airport manager does not know that he is employed today because of the airline. How can he call me riff-raff?
“If we are not adequately compensated for our losses, we promise the government that we will go to court. This is part of the reasons why airlines in Nigeria do not survive,” the Air Peace boss said.
“Mgbemena Orjiakor, the Enugu Station Manager, will have to explain to the world who sent him because I believe this is outright sabotage. That station manager was not remorseful and very insulting,” he added.
In response to the development, FAAN’s Acting General Manager Corporate Affairs, Henrietta Yakubu, also confirmed that the airline had paid all its outstanding debt before the airline was shut down.
Yakubu apologised for the inconveniences the situation must have created for the airline and its passenger and promised that the agency will see to it that such doesn’t repeat itself.