Presidency Source Rules Out Sabotage, While Investigation Is On Over Plane Crash
While the investigation is still on, on the cause of the Plane accident involving Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and his team last Saturday, a presidency source has ruled out the outcome of an attempt on the Vice president's life.
Also, findings indicated that Osinbajo opted for the private chopper because the helicopters in the Presidential Fleet were reportedly occupied that day with other functions.
Two choppers in the official fleet, said to be the "only functional ones" for now, had already been engaged to fly to presidential campaign venues in the North-East on a fateful day.
One State House official, who spoke with the Punch explained that in the circumstances, the VP had to opt for the charter service to be able to carry on with the Next Level campaign activities of the Buhari administration.
"Actually, there are two functional helicopters in the Presidential Fleet. That is the information available right now. Those two choppers were already engaged on Saturday.
"For example, Mr President was away to Bauchi that same day and the two PAF choppers were engaged for that and other functions.
"It is not unusual that when the choppers are engaged and there is another equally important function to be executed, an alternative can be sought.
"This is not just about the VP, whenever there is the need for an alternative when the functional choppers are busy, this is done," the source said.
Investigations showed that the VP's office ruled out any sabotage in the near-death experience.
"There is no use pre-empting the outcome of an investigation. However, there is no fear about any sabotage," a presidential source assured.
Naija News recalls that Osinbajo, the Minister of State for Labour, Prof. Stephen Ocheni, and other senior presidential officials had escaped unhurt when the AgustaWestland 139 helicopter marked 5N-CML and serial number: 31389, owned and operated by Caverton Helicopters crash landed and fell on its side at the Kabba Stadium in Kogi State on Saturday.
Naija News recalls that in 2018, a similar thing occurred as the helicopter which conveyed Vice President Osinbajo to the graduation of 40 senior officers of the Nigeria Customs Service at the Customs College in Gwagwalada on June 7, couldn't rise above the trees when the Vice President was scheduled to depart and was forced to make an emergency landing.
The Vice President had to depart the venue and returned to the presidential villa through motor cars.
Meanwhile, Josiah Choms, Caverton managing director, said an investigation into the incident has begun.
The Accident Investigation Bureau on Sunday also confirmed that it had begun an investigation into the accident to ascertain what really caused it.
The AIB said investigators had been dispatched to the site of the crash in Kabba.
Caverton Helicopters, in its reaction to the development, expressed support for the investigation, saying that it would give necessary cooperation to the government agency.
In a reaction of the Presidency to the investigation of the crash, it responded that what the agency had started followed the normal protocol when a crash occurred.
Senior Special Assistant to the VP on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, said Osinbajo believed the investigation was the "standard procedure."
He added, "After such an incident, the aviation authorities will do their due diligence, carry out a thorough investigation and come out with a report on what has happened.
"That is the proper thing to do and yes, they are on the right course of action."
Findings showed that as of 2015, PAF had 10 aircraft, including four Agusta helicopters.
Source: Naija News