Senator Smart Adeyemi (PDP, Kogi West) yesterday alleged that the crashed Associated Airlines’ plane conveying the corpse of former Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Agagu, was on a test flight as it was under repairs after being grounded for some time.
Speaking on the floor of the Senate during a motion sponsored by Senator Hope Uzodimma (PDP, Imo West), Adeyemi said the problem with the aviation sector was as a result of corruption and that the Associated Aircraft that crashed was on test flight, based on what people told him during his investigations.
According to Adeyemi, the plane departed Lagos for Akure on a test flight, as it was under repairs before then, and was supposed to carry only engineers for the flight test and not passengers.
He said that the government, especially the Ministry of Aviation had tried on facilities at the nation’s airport but that corruption was the main cause of the problems facing the sector. He insisted that it was pertinent to know the owner of the crashed airline and those managing it.
He further said that the airports were good but had the problems of technical regulators which he said was neck-deep in corruption.
Also speaking, Senator Ita Enag (PDP, Akwa Ibom North East), called for thorough investigations into the matter and said that laws on aviation in the country were not enforced and that the minister had concentrated more on infrastructure and aesthetics while professionalism and suitability of the aircraft had been neglected.
He said that there was about 909 pages of recommendations on aviation safety but nothing had been done to implement them even as he said that in other countries professionalism and retraining of professionals were taken seriously which was not the same thing in Nigeria.
“We must go back and overhaul the system of monitoring and regulating the sector. We must make sure in our oversight functions that those saddled with responsibilities execute them efficiently,” he stated.