|The plane and onlookers|
A scrap plane formerly owned by the late Apostle Gabriel Oduyemi of Bethel Ministries, Ajah, Lagos, caused panic in the city on Thursday as rumour spread that another aircraft had crashed in Lagos.
It was learnt that the plane, which was recently released to Capt Matthew Ekeinde, husband of Nollywood star, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, was being dragged to Badagry area of the state before its tyre burst. The incident forced the new owner to dump the plane in a nearby filling station.
Hundreds of residents trooped out with their smart phones and camera, and queued behind the gate of Dapsey Oil filling station at Igando where the plane was parked.
A senior employee of the filling station said the plane, with registration number N972TF, was being towed from Muritala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja to Badagry when one of the tyres burst.
He said, “The plane was brought here around 2am after one of its tyres burst. It was being towed by a red vehicle, but after it got to Igando, they discovered it would be difficult to get it to its destination with burst tyre, which was why they brought it here.”
The Lagos State Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Damasus Ozoani, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the police provided escort for the plane.
He said, “About 12.45am, the command got a directive to escort the jet from MMIA Ikeja to Badagry by road.
“The operation was led by one Capt. Matthew Ekeinde, but in the process of the journey, one of the jet’s tyres burst at College Bus Stop and the jet could not move.
“It was parked at Dapsey Filling Station along Igando for repairs. We have provided security for the plane until it is moved to Badagry.”
PUNCH Metro observed that men of The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were on the ground to “ensure the safety of people” living in the area.
The Igando Divisional Police Officer, Adeoye Olugbemiga, came with his team around 12pm to control on-lookers.
In a short time, some of the residents turned the scene into an amusement park and began to pose and take shots near the plane.
One of our correspondents observed that the plane’s two wings had been chopped off and the cockpit was stuffed with nylons.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nnamdi Udoh, in a statement, said the aircraft had long been within the agency’s facility till Wednesday night when it was removed.
Udoh said, “The aircraft that was sighted by the residents was actually a junk one belonging to the late Apostle Gabriel Oduyemi of Bethel Ministries.
“The aircraft was actually released to Capt Ekeinde who will be using it for educational purposes in Badagry, Lagos.”
Ekeinde confirmed on the telephone that the scrap plane belonged to him.
He said, “The aircraft will be situated in a multipurpose and entertainment centre which wlll be open very soon.
“When opened, the centre will be the first of its kind in West Africa.”