On Sunday, (April 18, 2021) Sunday Punch (A Nigerian Newspaper) reported that the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has grounded a private chopper belonging to Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God at the Lagos Airport.

"Someone Requested a Bribe"

According to Sunday Punch, last week Saturday, Adeboye during a special meeting with all ordained ministers of the mission at the RCCG, Region 21, in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital called for drastic action against corrupt practices in all facets in Nigeria.

Adeboye was reported to have arrived at the venue (for the meeting) late. According to Punch, Adeboye's lateness was due to the fact that someone had requested a bribe from him to fly his chopper.

Adeboye who decided to embark on the short trip to Ibadan to avoid a possible gridlock on the busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway said, "I don't give excuses because I have discovered long ago that only failures give excuses. But you must pray for Nigeria.

"Something must be done about corruption in this nation. All I can say is that I am this late because somebody wanted a bribe. And you know if you are expecting a bribe from me, you have to wait forever.

"But the devil has failed. And the devil will continue to fail. I decided to come by helicopter so that there won't be a traffic jam that would tie me down on the expressway because I know what the devil could do.

"Then, I ran into something else. But by the grace of God, we are here."

The Reason Why Pastor Adeboye's Helicopter Was Suspended From Flying

The Director-General, NCCA (Aviation Regulatory Agency), Captain Musa Nuhu, confirmed that the regulatory agency had suspended flights on the aircraft for safety reasons.

According to him, the NCAA does not often deal directly with individuals or owners of aircraft but the operator.

In this case, he said the NCAA only had business with the operator of the aircraft, Omni-Blu Aviation.

Nuhu said, "There are safety-related issues that must be resolved before the aircraft will be approved for resumption of flights. Safety is the paramount consideration in all approvals given by the NCAA. No matter what, we must not sacrifice safety for flights; that is the whole idea."

Pastor Adeboye Was Not Properly Briefed?

The top official who spoke to Sunday PUNCH insists that the regulation body was only doing its job to ensure the safety of the people.

He said, "The NCAA that have now is different from what it used to be. It always insists on the standard. We don't want any disappointing situation for anybody, especially for a globally reputed servant of God like Daddy G.O. It appears the man of God was not properly briefed. But we thank God an alternative arrangement was made to rescue the situation. Safety is first and paramount. No life is worth toying with, how much more that of a servant of God like Daddy G.O. As an airline, we won't compromise safety no matter the pressure

The church's protocol team should have told him that the NCAA has not cleared the aircraft and it may not clear it within a short time because certain procedures must be followed. As such, an alternative arrangement should have been made"

Indeed, an alternative arrangement was made. Pastor Adeboye had to fly another aircraft reportedly belonging to his friend Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel).

There Was A Plea For An Extension "Grace Period" On Some Parts That Are Due For Replacement

A top official of Omni-Blu Aviation, the airline operating the chopper for Pastor Adeboye confirmed the development. The official said a letter from Italy-based Leonardo, the manufacturer of Pastor Adeboye's AW 139 helicopter, requesting the NCAA to grant a time extension (grace period) on some spare parts that are due for replacement. 

According to the top official, that plea came late. Although the spare parts due for replacement have been ordered from the manufacturer in Italy, they have yet to be shipped to Nigeria because they are usually produced on demand, according to Omni-Blu Aviation.

As such, the NCAA could not immediately grant the requested extension (grace period). Instead, the regulatory agency requested that comprehensive safety checks be conducted on the aircraft in line with standard aviation safety practice.

"Bride? I Am Not Aware But It Is Possible" 

The Omni-Blu official denied knowledge of any bribe request, either by the airline or aviation officials. 

He, however, said it was not impossible that some people might have cashed in on the situation to demand a bribe.

"You know some people don't fear God no matter what. They can even go to the extent of asking a servant of God for a bribe. So, it is not impossible. But on our part, I am not aware of such".

Sunday PUNCH also contacts the spokesperson for RCCG, Pastor Olaitan Olubiyi. He said the matter was being resolved already.

He said; "We will not want to take issue with the aviation authorities but I can assure you that an amicable solution is being found to the issue"

As it stands, it is uncertain when Pastor Adeboye's chopper will be allowed to fly.