How Max Air Flight Over Aso Rock Caused Panic In Nigerian Seat Of Power

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The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had affirmed that there was no security threat to Aso Rock, the Nigeria’s seat of power.

The “unknown aircraft” (DNP4) which flew over the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Abuja, causing panic for government officials was a Max Air flight, SaharaReporters has learnt.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had affirmed that there was no security threat to Aso Rock, the Nigeria’s seat of power.

SaharaReporters earlier on Friday reported that the NCAA issued a stringent warning to all aircraft operators after receiving a report from the office of the National Security Adviser about an unknown aircraft flying over the Presidential Villa (DNP4).

“The airline mentioned in this memo was Max Air flying into Abuja from Kano,” a top source confirmed to SaharaReporters.

The warning by the NCAA was contained in a statement by Captain Chris Najomo, Acting Director General of Civil Aviation.

Najomo had said the incident prompted the NCAA to reiterate the critical regulations governing Nigerian airspace, citing Part 8.8.1.21 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARS) 2023.

The release partly states, “No person may operate an aircraft in a prohibited area or in a restricted area, the particulars of which have been duly published, except in accordance with the conditions of the restriction or by permission of the state over whose territory the areas are established.”

The statement addressed to all aircraft operators and other aviation in a letter dated April 16, 2024 and with reference number NCAA/DGCA/AIR/11/16/319 reads, “The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority received a letter from the office of the National Security Adviser reporting a sighting of an unknown aircraft flying over the presidential Villa (DNP4).

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“The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority wishes to refer to Part 8.8.1.21 of Nig.CARS 2023, which states that ‘No person may operate an aircraft in a prohibited area or in a restricted area, the particulars of which have been duly published, except in accordance with the conditions of the restriction or by permission of the state over whose territory the areas are established.’

“Any such violation shall be liable to sanction, prosecution or both by the Authority. In addition, the intruding aircraft may risk being met with dire consequences.”

“This AOL is applicable to all Operators operating in the Nigerian Airspace,” the NCAA added.

It further noted, “All Aircraft Owners and All Operators should advise their Crew to obtain thorough weather briefing before flight and adhere strictly to ATC instructions to avoid flight into restricted or prohibited areas.”

However, Capt. Najomo highlighted the consequences of such violations, warning, “Any such violation shall be liable to sanction, prosecution or both by the Authority. In addition, the intruding aircraft may risk being met with dire consequences.”

However, giving some clarification in an interview, Najomo, explained that “there was no security threat to Aso Rock,” insisting that the directive was not new.

“The reason the authority wrote to those airlines is because the plane was identified as being from an airline so it was a routine reminder or advisory to say look be careful around restricted areas and all of that,” Najomo said.

“We call it an ‘all operators letter’. It is stated clearly in the header and it is a public document on our website,” he said.

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“Anybody can go there to find it there. And there was nothing out of normal routine about that letter and the events that necessitated us writing it.

“So someone is coming out and presenting it as though they have carried out some investigative work, as though it’s a secret document,” he said.

“If you simply Google search, it will show that similar incidents have happened even around the White House.

“Sometimes the way planes take off from the airport, for certain reasons, weight, weather and the rest, sometimes they stray before they achieve balance mid-air and by the time they achieve that balance, they might be finding themselves around the villa.”

But that he said does not mean or suggest in any way the airline had breached security at the Aso Rock.


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