Dayo Falomo and Kemi Tayo, Abeokuta.
An Ethiopian Airlines flight conveying former President Olusegun Obasanjo and over 350 other passengers on Wednesday aborted landing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
The Boeing 777-300 aircraft from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was said to have had a missed approach and the pilot aborted the initial landing, manoeuvred the aircraft before landing in the second attempt.
The incident reportedly caused panic among the passengers, including the Director of Ports Inspection, National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control, Prof Samson Adebayo; and Director-General of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni.
Obasanjo was said to have attended a stakeholders’ meeting on African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which ended on Tuesday in Addis Ababa.
In a statement by the General Manager, Ethiopian Airlines in Nigeria, Firihiewot Mekonnen, the carrier said the pilot did not overshoot the runway but aborted landing as a precautionary safety measure due to bad weather.
She said, “Ethiopian Flight ET 901 which departed from Addis Ababa on its way to Lagos encountered bad weather during landing and made a go-around the airport for better and smooth landing, according to the procedure.
“On a second attempt, it made a safe and normal landing. According to safety standard, pilots are encouraged to make a similar go-around in such cases.”
However, the General Manager, Public Affairs of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said there was no incident of overshooting of runway at the airport.
“Ethiopian Airlines came to Lagos at a time it was raining, with reduced visibility; hence it had to go back and hovered for a while. Finally, it came back and landed safely,” he said.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, said the weather made it difficult for the plane to land at first attempt.
“There was bad weather so the aircraft had a missed approached, went up again and landed safely. At the second attempt he landed safely,” she said.
But the media aide to Obasanjo, Kehinde Akinyemi, who spoke with our correspondent in Abeokuta on Wednesday, said the report was not true.
He said, “He (Obasanjo) was with a popular comedian Ali Baba in his house in Abeokuta.
“Many people have called to find out and we have told them that there was nothing like a plane crash.
“Baba travelled. He came back from Ethiopia. There was nothing like a plane crash. The plane did not have any issue.”
Akinyemi added, “He was even shocked that people are spreading false information that he was in involved in a plane crash.
“And immediately he got back home he started playing ayo game. Nothing happened.”