Nigeria: Controversy over Air Peace’s treatment of the Emir of Kano
Air Peace says it did not disrespect the Emir.
A Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, said it had not disrespected the Emir of Kano as claimed in a written petition against him.
Air Peace made this known Friday evening in its response to a letter of complaint written by a cousin of the emir, Isa Bayero.
The emir’s cousin had asked the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to take punitive action against Air Peace for what he called a ‘disrespect’ towards the emir and the people of Kano.
In the petition to the NCAA, Mr Bayero, popularly known as Isa Pilot, said the airline delayed their Banjul-Lagos flight for over an hour and refused to allow them to board. their connecting flight to Kano because they had arrived in Lagos 30 minutes before the departure time. .
The petition claimed Mr Bayero had called Air Peace Chairman Allen Onyema to inform him of the need to delay the airline’s morning flight to Kano due to the Banjul incident.
“He categorically refused and confessed that he would not. I personally took this as an insult and a gross disrespect to his highness and the people of Kano in general,” Mr. Bayero wrote about of Mr. Onyema in the petition.
But in its response on Friday, Air Peace described the allegations as a “deliberate lie” peddled against the airline.
The airline’s chief operating officer, Toyin Olajide, argued that Air Peace holds the Emir of Kano in high regard and contrary to the insinuation that the Emir was disrespected, the airline air has indeed protected the image of the traditional ruler “by not succumbing to what Isa Bayero wanted us to do.”
The statement read: “If we had agreed to stop and delay a plane, already ready to take off, an additional hour just for the doors to open and the Emir to enter, there would have been a very serious uproar in the country’s media against the airline and the emir, which we begged Isa Bayero to understand, but he refused to accept.
“How could Isa Bayero want Air Peace management to stop and delay a fully boarded aircraft with doors already closed and planes already moving when our respected Emir and eight other people in his entourage, including Isa Bayero, were still on the international wing of the Murtala Mohammed AirportLagos after arriving from Banjul?”
Air Peace explained that according to the phone log evidence on Mr. Onyema’s phone, its CEO, Mr. Bayero called around 5:52 a.m. when the CEO was still asleep.
According to the newspaper, the airline said, it could be seen that Mr. Bayero called him back at 5:59 a.m., which obviously woke him up.
“Seeing that it was Isa Bayero calling, he took the call. Isa told our president that he and the Emir of Kano had just landed at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Banjul, Gambia, and that they would fly to Kano that morning,” the airline said.
“He told the President to delay our first flight of the day, the 6:15 a.m. Lagos-Kano flight for him and the Emir along with eight other people. It is not true that our President flatly refused. Rather he said to Mr. Isa Bayero to give him a few minutes to call the airport to find out the status of the flight. He called me. To show his desire to help, he called me immediately and filed the request.
“I am the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Air Peace. I quickly called the local airport from where we conduct our daily domestic flight operations and was told that the aircraft had since completed boarding and was almost rolling.”